NCAA Tournament

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  Friday, Mar. 17 10:20pm ET
Miami bumps Arkansas out of South

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- For most of Friday night's NCAA tournament first-round game, Miami was coasting against Arkansas with a double-digit lead.

Then, in the final 60 seconds, it almost evaporated.

Vernon Jennings and Chris Walker
Miami's Vernon Jennings finds some room to pass around Arkansas' Chris Walker.
The Hurricanes hung on for a 75-71 victory in a game that wasn't nearly that close until it was almost over.

"For 39 minutes, I thought we had things under control," Miami coach Leonard Hamilton said. "That last minute, I think we made it a little interesting."

Arkansas went on a 10-0 run to close within three before the Hurricanes put the game away and advanced to Sunday's second round of the South subregional. Miami next plays Ohio State, which defeated Appalachian State 87-61.

Johnny Hemsley's 3-point shooting led Miami to its big early lead. All of his five field goals came from beyond the 3-point line, and he led the Hurricanes with 20 points. John Salmons had 16 and Mario Bland 14.

But Arkansas simply wouldn't go away.

"They kept fighting and never allowed us to extend the lead beyond 10," Hamilton said.

And eventually the Razorbacks wore Miami down.

"That 40 minutes of hell came out in the second half," said Vernon Jennings, referring to Arkansas' slogan. "They kept subbing people in and out. We had four guys play over 30 minutes and it caught up with us."

Arkansas managed just four field goals in the first 16 minutes and trailed by as many as 16 points before a 9-4 run cut Miami's lead to 37-27 at halftime.

Typical of the way the first half went for the Hurricanes (22-10) was a sequence midway through the first 20 minutes when it seemed the shot clock would expire on them. Jennings heaved a shot almost from half court and it dropped through for a 3-pointer.

On the ensuing possession, the 35-second clock ran out on Arkansas before the Razorbacks could get off a shot.

Arkansas was 0-for-9 on 3-pointers in the first half and was outrebounded 21-15.

"We started the first half and I thought we could not make a shot," Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said. "If you don't make shots, you can't get into your pressure defense."

When the Razorbacks (19-15) tried to rally in the second half, consecutive 3-pointers by Hemsley kept Miami in control. Then Arkansas' late 10-0 run got the lead down to three but Miami hung on for the win.

Teddy Gipson led Arkansas with 14 points.

Arkansas arrived on a roll after winning four games in four days to capture the SEC tournament and an automatic bid to the NCAA. It resurrected what had seemed a lost season for the Razorbacks.

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