GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Jaylen Barford hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left to help Arkansas hold off Seton Hall 77-71 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Barford had 12 of his 20 points after halftime for the Razorbacks (26-9), the No. 8 seed in the South Region. That included his layup off Khadeen Carrington’s turnover at the other end, pushing Arkansas ahead for good as the Razorbacks scored the game’s final seven points.
The 6-foot-3 junior also came through with a pair of free throws with 18.3 seconds left following a whistle in which officials reviewed Desi Rodriguez’s foul to stop the clock and changed it to a flagrant foul.
After Barford hit his free throws, Daryl Macon added another to make it a 75-71 game. Carrington missed a 3 at the other end in what amounted to the ninth-seeded Pirates’ last gasp.
Macon added two more free throws with 9.7 seconds left to seal Arkansas’ ninth win in 11 games.
Moses Kingsley added 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting for the Razorbacks, who shot 47 percent against a defense that had been holding teams to around 43 percent.
Carrington had 22 points to lead the Pirates (21-12), who shot just 38 percent and couldn’t hold onto their late lead.
Seton Hall: The Pirates had a 15-3 run to take a 64-56 lead with 8:41 left, but their mistakes down the stretch hurt. They had 15 turnovers — including two straight around Barford’s layup — to deny their pursuit of a first NCAA Tournament win since 2004.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks survived being soundly beaten on the boards (46-32) but they did just enough to speed the Pirates up and get the game closer to their preferred pace. They also made 18 of 23 free throws to help prolong their late-season surge.
Arkansas advanced to Sunday’s second round to face the Texas Southern-North Carolina winner.