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Unbeaten Arkansas escapes NKU upset bid, hangs on for 66-60 victory on Saturday night

NKyTribune staff

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Northern Kentucky will have to wait at least one more season to collect that so-called signature victory — unless the Norse pull off a shocker in March during the NCAA Tournament.

Arkansas made sure of that Saturday by surviving an NKU upset bid and escaping with a 66-60 win at Bud Walton Arena. Holding a 62-60 lead, the unbeaten Razorbacks (7-0) watched as Adham Eleeda’s potential go-ahead 3-pointer rimmed out with 14 seconds remaining.

Arkansas rebounded the miss and sealed the win by converting four free throws in the final 11 seconds.

Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe (1) looks for an opening against NKU defender Bryson Langdon on Saturday. (University of Arkansas photo)

Dantez Walton scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead NKU, which dropped to 5-3. The Norse led for much of the opening 20 minutes as Walton poured in 15 points, but Arkansas closed the half with a 10-0 run to take a 33-28 advantage into the locker room.

Arkansas eventually built a 55-43 lead with 8:49 remaining in the game, but NKU responded with a 17-6 run to slice the Razorbacks’ advantage to 61-60 on Walton’s basket in the final minute.

Isaiah Joe made one of two free throws with 23 seconds left to extend the Arkansas lead to 62-60. NKU then found Eleeda open in the corner, but his 3-pointer rimmed out.

Trevon Faulkner added 14 points for NKU, which finished 8-for-24 from 3-point range. Going into Saturday’s contest, no team had made more than three 3-pointers against Arkansas. The Razorbacks entered the game No. 1 nationally in defending the trey, holding the opposition to 14.1 percent accuracy from beyond the arc.

Jimmy Whitt led Arkansas with 24 points, while Desi Sills scored 17. Arkansas played without leading scorer Mason Jones, who missed the game with an injury. Jones is averaging 18.5 points per contest.

NKU is now 0-5 all-time against Southeastern Conference foes, with losses to Kentucky (twice), Texas A&M, Missouri and Arkansas.

NKU is still searching for its first signature win (SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten) since making the move to Division I in 2012. The Norse are 0-18 against those six conferences during their Division I era.

While competing in Division II, NKU defeated Xavier twice in the 1970s. NKU is now 2-23 all-time against programs from the “Power 6” conferences of college basketball.

NKU plays at Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.


Sharpe 4-11 0-0 10, Adheke 0-0 0-0 0, Walton 10-14 6-8 30, Faulkner 4-13 5-6 14, Langdon 2-7 1-1 6, Eleeda 0-4 0-0 0, Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Mocaby 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 12-15 60.
Joe 2-11 4-5 10, Whitt 9-15 6-7 24, Sills 7-15 3-5 17, Chaney 3-5 0-0 6, Bailey 1-5 2-3 4, Harris 1-1 2-2 5, Cylla 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 17-22 66.
HALFTIME: UA 33-28. 3-POINTERS: (NKU 8-24, UA 3-18). REBOUNDS: NKU 32 (Walton 10), UA 37 (Chaney 11).
RECORDS: Arkansas 7-0, NKU 5-3.

(Information compiled from Arkansas, NKU and staff reports)

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