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Western Kentucky's defense sparks OT win over Arkansas


The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers rallied late in regulation and used strong defense to defeat the Arkansas Razorbacks in overtime 86-79 on Saturday night in Bowling Green, Ky.

The game was tied at 77-77 with 3:12 left in overtime. Western Kentucky's defense did not allow another made field goal, giving Arkansas its first loss of the season.

Arkansas (8-1) held a tenuous 65-63 lead heading into the final two minutes, and Desi Sills' 3-pointer from the left corner gave the Hogs a 68-63 advantage with 1:39 left. Sills pushed that lead to 70-64 on another made jumper with 1:03 left, and it appeared Western Kentucky (7-3) was done. However, the Hilltoppers rallied.

Western Kentucky's Taveion Hollingsworth scored six points in 15 seconds on a jumper and four free throws as WKU reduced its deficit to 73-70 with 32 seconds left.

Then came the night's biggest play: The Razorbacks' Isaiah Joe gathered the inbound pass and barreled into a Western Kentucky defender for an offensive foul. WKU got the ball back, and Jared Savage hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 73 with 26 seconds left.

Arkansas' Mason Jones and Jimmy Whitt Jr. had chances to win the game in the final four seconds of regulation, but both missed, sending the game to the extra period.

With 8:47 remaining in the game, Arkansas led 55-51, but Western Kentucky limited the Razorbacks to just three points in the next four minutes. The Hilltoppers used their defense to create a 9-3 run and gain a 60-58 lead with 5:08 to go.

Arkansas forged a 62-62 tie, but WKU then took a 63-62 lead on a free throw with 3:09 remaining. Arkansas -- fueled by Sills' triple -- uncorked an 8-1 run to get a 70-64 lead before WKU stormed back in the final minute to force overtime.

Hollingsworth finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Western Kentucky. Josh Anderson scored 15 points, followed by Savage with 14 and Camron Justice with 12

Sills finished with 20 to lead Arkansas, followed by Joe with 18 and Whitt with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

--Field Level Media

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