Mason Jones hit the tying and go-ahead 3-pointers late, and Arkansas rallied for a 72-68 victory over visiting Valparaiso on Saturday night in North Little Rock, Ark.
Jones, who finished with 20 points after scoring 41 versus Tulsa last weekend, tied the game at 65-65 with a three at 1:21 of regulation, and put the Razorbacks (10-1) ahead 68-65 with another shot from deep with 51.6 seconds left.
Isaiah Joe scored 21 for Arkansas, which led by 13 points in the first half, then held on to win its 11th straight at home despite shooting 40.4 percent and going 20 of 31 from the free-throw line.
Javon Freeman-Liberty had 21 points for Valpo (7-6), which was playing its third road game in six days. Mileek McMillan scored 14 for the Crusaders, who shot 39.1 percent (7 of 26 from 3-point range).
Freeman-Liberty’s three out of a timeout gave Valpo a 49-46 lead with 11:34 left in the game. McMillan made it 51-46 with a bucket to make it an 8-0 run for the visitors. The Crusaders led 60-51 with 7:23 to play, but Arkansas would not go quietly.
Joe made all three free throws after being fouled from distance to get the Razorbacks within 63-61 with just over three minutes to play. Adrio Bailey (10 points) made it 63-61 by making one of two free throws, but Freeman-Liberty came through again with a runner off the glass to push Valpo’s lead to 65-62.
It looked as if this would be an easy night from the get-go for the Razorbacks, who, after Freeman-Liberty’s free throw gave Valpo a 1-0 lead, scored the next eight points. Arkansas made five of its first eight shots and led 18-5.
However, the Razorbacks endured a field-goal drought of nearly six minutes that also included a 9-1 Crusaders’ run. Freeman-Liberty’s 3-pointer gave the visitors a 31-29 lead with 1:58 left in the first half. Thanks to 12 Arkansas turnovers and the hosts’ 4-of-10 effort from the free-throw line, Valparaiso led 34-32.
—Field Level Media