NEW YORK (AP) By his admission, Johnny Dawkins ''loves'' the current iteration of the Stanford Cardinal.
And why, pray tell, does he adore his team?
''I've seen how big their hearts are,'' Dawkins said after Marcus Allen's layup with 2.6 seconds left was the game-deciding basket in Stanford's 69-66 come-from-behind win over Arkansas in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip Off on Friday.
''We've gone through a lot of adversity early in our season and through that I've really learned a lot about my team. And the thing I've learned is they have big hearts, they keep competing, they never give up.''
Allen's layup came as a result of Keaton Miles' defensive goaltending infraction. Arkansas coach Mike Anderson was assessed a technical foul after arguing and Rosco Allen made two free throws to seal it.
Anderson said the officiating crew did not give him an explanation for the goaltending call. ''They never do,'' Anderson said. ''They never do.''
Rosco Allen finished with 25 points, as Stanford snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 3-3. Marcus Allen and Michael Humphrey both had 12 points, and Reid Travis added 10.
Anthlon Bell led Arkansas (2-3) with 17 points before fouling out with 1:43 left. Moses Kingsley fouled out as well and finished with 12 points. Jimmy Whitt had 14 points, and Dusty Hannahs added 12.
Hannahs nearly sent the game to overtime as his desperation 3 at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Stanford trailed for almost the entirety of the game as the Razorbacks utilized a strong rebounding performance and crafty passing to create offensive opportunities. Arkansas finished with 42 rebounds - 19 offensive - and 15 assists on 23 baskets.
But the Razorbacks couldn't put Stanford away. The Cardinal used a 19-5 run - spanning nearly seven minutes - to cut the deficit to 65-62 with 2:17 to go. Arkansas' lead was trimmed to one, 66-65, after Marcus Allen's made free throw with 27.4 seconds left.
''Basketball is a game of momentum,'' Anderson said. ''We didn't do a good job of attacking.''
Marcus Allen's winning lay-in then gave Stanford its first lead since very early in the game.
''If you're going to beat us, it's going to be 40 minutes,'' Dawkins said. ''It won't be because our kids let up.''
Stanford's surge was almost a carbon copy of what transpired in the first half between the two programs.
Following an opening 20 minutes marked by significant shifts in momentum, Arkansas led 41-31 at the half.
The Razorbacks led by as much by 20 in the first half, and the Cardinal did not break the double-figure barrier in points scored until Christian Sanders' layup with 9:10 left.
Following Sanders' lay-in, though, Stanford outscored Arkansas 20-12 for the remainder of the half. The primary factor in Stanford's improved play as the half progressed was better ball management. The Cardinal had committed eight turnovers with eight minutes left in the first half. By halftime, they had 10.
''We got tired and we got tentative,'' Anderson said. ''In the second half, I don't know. Sometimes you make shots.''
The programs are 1-1 in two all-time meetings. Stanford beat Arkansas, 60-53, in the only meeting in Jan. 3, 1948.
ARKANSAS: The 2015 NIT Season Tip Off marked Arkansas' second all-time trip to New York to participate in the tournament. The Razorbacks' other appearance came in 1990, where they lost to Arizona 89-77 in the championship game.
STANFORD: This was the Cardinal's 13th game in New York City since Nov. 2011 and was Stanford's seventh game at Barclays Center since Sept. 13, 2012.
ARKANSAS: The Razorbacks host Northwestern St. on Dec. 1.
STANFORD: The Cardinal welcome Dartmouth on Dec. 12.