FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Michael Washington had 24 points and
11 rebounds, holding his own against Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, and
Arkansas handed the fourth-ranked Sooners their first loss of the
season, 96-88 on Tuesday night.
The Razorbacks (10-1) led by 25 points in the second half before
the Sooners nearly pulled off a sensational rally. Oklahoma (12-1)
cut the margin to 81-77, but Washington scored Arkansas' next seven
points to enable the Hogs to hold on.
When it was over, Rotnei Clarke - an Arkansas freshman from
Verdigris, Okla. - held the ball and shared a hug with Washington
as the final seconds ticked away on Oklahoma's unbeaten record.
Freshman Courtney Fortson had 12 points, 10 assists and eight
rebounds for Arkansas, which had six players in double figures and
never trailed in winning its eighth straight.
Willie Warren scored 35 points for the Sooners, the freshman's
second straight 30-point game, while Griffin had 21 points and 13
The Sooners, who hadn't played in over a week, fell behind 21-8
before coach Jeff Capel called a timeout.
The early attempt to regroup did little good as Griffin had two
shots blocked, and Stefan Welsh went right around Griffin on a fast
break for a 37-17 lead.
The Sooners' frustration boiled over when Tony Crocker was
called for two fouls 10 seconds apart. After the second, Crocker
stormed over toward his bench, earning a technical foul for the
outburst and saddling himself with four fouls for the game.
Clarke's free throws made it 41-20.
Clarke's 3-pointer made it 72-47 in the second half before
Oklahoma went on a 16-0 run. Crocker did his best to atone for his
foul-plagued first half, making five 3-pointers in the second to
finish with 18 points.
Arkansas lost 86 percent of its scoring from last season's team
that went to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The crowd at Bud Walton Arena was into it from the start Tuesday
night. Even when Oklahoma went on an 11-0 run in the first half,
Arkansas answered with nine straight points to push the lead back
to 19 on former football player Marcus Monk's dunk.
Only Warren prevented a complete debacle in the first half for
the Sooners. At one point, Warren was 6-of-6 from the field while
his Oklahoma teammates were 1-of-15. Warren scored 20 points in the
first half, but Arkansas led 53-38 at halftime.
The Sooners didn't go quietly. Griffin scored inside to make it
81-71, then intercepted a pass and threw the ball off an Arkansas
player out of bounds.
Warren made consecutive 3-pointers to make it 81-77, and Fortson
appeared trapped near midcourt against Oklahoma's pressure. But the
Arkansas guard managed to find Washington alone under the basket
for a dunk.
Warren's two free throws made it 83-79, but that was as close as
Oklahoma would get. Washington made a free throw and two baskets to
make it 88-81.