Arkansas battles back to beat No. 17 San Diego State in OT, 78-74

After not playing at all in either of Arkansas’ first two games of the Maui Invitational, Kamani Johnson came through with the biggest play of the night in the Hogs’ 78-74 win over No. 17 San Diego State late Wednesday night.

Johnson was the player of the game for the Hogs, but that won’t show up in the box score. He played 18 minutes, all coming in the second half and overtime. He had seven rebounds and scored seven points — four of which came on the final shot in regulation and the shot to put Arkansas up 75-72 in overtime.

Johnson’s rebound and two free throws with 3.7 seconds left gave the Hogs a 78-74 lead, and he even had a steal on the Aztecs inbound pass at the end of the game.

Most of Arkansas’ life on offense came from Anthony Black and Trevon Brazile. Black scored 15 and had five boards, while Brazile led the team with 20 points and nine rebounds.

After scoring just one point in the first half, Ricky Council IV came alive in the second half to finish the game with 19 points.

The Hogs finished the game shooting just 40% from the field, but they forced 15 turnovers and won the battle on the boards by six to edge out the Aztecs.

Here’s a recap of Arkansas win over San Diego State, which secured a third place finish in the Maui Invitational.

After two straight games with 26 points, Black drove right to the basket and drew a foul to go to the line, where he hit both shots to open the scoring.

By the first media timeout, seven total free throws had been shot and the Hogs held a 7-6 lead. San Diego State’s Nathan Mensah — the 2022 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year — had two fouls early in the game.

After getting a breather, Black returned to the game and slammed home a dunk that made it a 14-13 game in favor of the Aztecs at the under-12 timeout. A trio of turnovers by the Hogs at that point seemed to be the difference.

Both teams combined to make 17 of 19 field goals across a five minute period, and most of the Aztecs’ shots were contested. They held an 20-16 lead at the midway point of the first half.

A pair of free throws from Jaedon Ledee with 8:06 gave San Diego State a seven-point advantage, its largest of the game. Hot off a 9-1 run, the Aztecs led 23-16 at the under-8 timeout. There were 14 fouls called in the game by the point.

After the Aztecs extended the run to 15-1, Black ended a 5:38 scoring drought for Arkansas with a pair of free throws at the 5:44 mark. Black then ended a seven-minute drought without a field goal to make it a 29-22 Aztecs advantage at the final media timeout of the half.

San Diego State stretched its lead back 11 out of the break, but Makhel Mitchell, who was playing with three fouls, had a sequence with a block and a dunk to give Arkansas a bit of momentum. That didn’t last, as the Aztecs quickly drove down and hit a layup.

Davonte Davis hit a jumper with 23 seconds remaining in the first half to make it a 35-26 Aztecs lead at the break.

Trevon Brazile opened the second half with the first three of the game for either team. Arkansas got within four on a contested jumper from Jordan Walsh, but the Aztecs answered right back with a layup from Matt Bradley.

Right out of the first media timeout, Brazile drained another three to cut the Aztecs’ lead to 37-34. In the span of just over a minute, San Diego State went back up 45-34 and Eric Musselman wanted a timeout.

Ricky Council IV’s first field goal of the game came at the 14:03 mark and he went to the free throw line to complete the 3-point play.

At the under-12 timeout, the Hogs had trimmed the Aztecs’ lead to 49-42.

Brazile slammed it home on a lob from Council to cut the lead to 51-46, but like had for the whole night, the Aztecs bounced back with a tough shot. A steal from Council resulted in a dunk to put the Hogs within four with 8:20 to go.

A foul by Keshad Johnson at the 7:40 mark put Arkansas in the bonus and sent Brazile to the line. He hit both shots and made it a three-point game.

San Diego State’s first 3-pointer of the game was a big one, putting the Aztecs up 61-53 with 5:30 remaining. Council finished strong at the rim on the other end and hit the charity shot to make it a five-point game again.

Brazile drilled a three at the top of the key to make it a 61-59 San Diego State lead, the closest they game had been all second half.

Seconds later, Mensah fouled out to put the Hogs in the bonus. Brazile hit one of two free throws out of the final media timeout to make it a one-point game. Arkansas fought for the offensive rebound and Council drew a foul. He hit one of two free throws to tie it at 61-61.

Following a missed dunk from Council, Darrion Trammell hit a pull-up jumper to put the Aztecs ahead with 2:34 to play.

Black drew a foul with 1:26 to go and he drained both free throws to tie the game at 63-63. Bradley responded with a reverse layup to put the Aztecs back up.

Adam Seiko hit a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to give the Aztecs a two possession lead. Black was fouled in transition and hit both shots at the line to make it a 67-65 game with just 13 seconds to go.

On the ensuing San Diego State inbound, Brazile fell on a loose ball and immediately called timeout to give Arkansas possession. Following a missed layup from Black, Kamani Johnson grabbed the rebound and barely got the ball through the hoop before the buzzer to send it to overtime.

Following a three from Trammell, Council hit a jumper in the paint to put the Hogs up 71-70 with 3:30 to play. Brazile drove the lane on the ensuing Arkansas possession to give the Hogs a three-point lead.

The Aztecs responded, but so did the Hogs on another follow from Johnson that made it a 75-72 Razorbacks lead. Keshod Johnson hit a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left to make it a one-point game. On the other end, Johnson fouled out against a driving Council, who hit one of two free throws to make it a two-point lead.

Kamani Johnson grabbed a rebound on a missed shot by the Aztecs and drew a foul with 3.7 second to go. He hit both free throws to make it a two possession game and secure the win for the Hogs.