KANSAS CITY — Arkansas made several key plays inside the final 1:37 to secure a 73-67 victory over Cincinnati to win the 2021 Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday evening.
The No. 12-13 Razorbacks improved to 5-0 on the season while the Bearcats dropped to 5-1.
Down one, JD Notae made a steal that led to a pair of Au’Diese Toney free throws for a 68-67 lead, one the Razorbacks would not relinquish.
Toney was named the MVP of the tournament after averaging 16 points and nine rebounds in the two games. Lykes was also named to the All-Tournament team.
“They picked the right guy for MVP,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said later. “We did not run one single play for (Toney), and he found ways to be effective. He also took Cincinnati’s best player completely out of the game defensively.”
Down the stretch, Jaylin Williams had two defensive rebounds, two offensive rebounds, drew a charge and capped the win with a free throw. Other big plays came from Davonte Davis offensive rebound and, for the second straight game, Chris Lykes made four free throws to ice the game.
The Razorbacks were just 3-17 on three-point attempts but out-rebounded the Bearcats 46-32.
Arkansas also went 24-32 at the free throw line while Cincinnati went 11-13.
"I could not be more proud of our team on the backboards tonight," Musselman said. "From a toughness standpoint, at least through this portion of the season, we're as tough as any team in the country. We didn't shoot the ball well at all in this tournament, but we come away with two wins because of our defense, because of our toughness and because of our rebounding."
Toney led the Hogs with 19 points and accounted for nine of Arkansas’ 46 rebounds. Williams led the way with 11 boards, helping the Razorbacks out rebound the Bearcats by 14.
Toney was named the Classic MVP and Lykes joined him on the all-tournament team.
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