Jacksonville Sports Day

NCAA: Qualls, Arkansas edge Wofford, 56-53

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Neither Arkansas or Wofford led by more than a possession in the second half. It was a fitting way to end a wild day in Jacksonville.

Michael Qualls had 20 points, Bobby Portis added 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Razorbacks edged the Terriers 56-53 in second-round action in the West Region on Thursday night.

Karl Cochran and Eric Garcia missed potentially game-tying 3-pointers for Wofford in the final 10 seconds.

“Thank goodness they ran out of time,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said of Wofford.

The fifth-seeded Razorbacks (27-8) will play the Tar Heels in the third round Saturday at 8:40 p.m. 

There were 18 lead changes and 10 ties in the contest. Neither team led by more than five points.

Qualls went 8-of-9 from the field, which included a trio of highlight-reel dunks. Alandise Harris tallied eight points and eight boards for Arkansas, which came in winning 10 of its last 13 games, with two of those losses coming against top-ranked Kentucky.

It was the Razorbacks’ first NCAA Tournament game since 2008.

The Southern Conference Player of the Year Cochran missed his last eight shots from the field and was 4-of-19 overall — 2-of-12 from beyond the arc. 

He had 12 points and seven rebounds.

Spencer Collins supplied 16 points and nine boards for the 12th-seeded Terriers (28-7), who had won eight straight and 15 of their last 16 contests.

“The score was in the 50s, we took nine more shots and we had eight turnovers. I would bet my last dollar that we would win that game. We didn’t, obviously,” Terriers coach Mike Young said.

Cochran split a pair of foul shots to stake Wofford to a 51-49 margin with 3:41 remaining, but the Razorbacks scored seven of the game’s final nine points.

Rashad Madden and Portis put in layups to put Arkansas in front with 2:12 left before an Eric Garcia jumper tied the game with 1:55 on the clock.

Harris’ three-point play on the Razorbacks’ next trip down the floor put them ahead for good. Madden found him cutting down the lane and Harris put in the short jumper for a 56-53 advantage.

Wofford, which turned the ball over just three times in the first half, held a 28-27 margin at the break.

The Terriers, though, gave the ball away three times in just over a minute to begin the final 20 minutes and a Harris jumper gave Arkansas a 31-28 lead.

Game Notes: No. 12 seeds went 6-2 against fifth-seeded teams the last two years. Twelve- seeded California, Mississippi and Oregon pulled off upsets in 2013, while Harvard, North Dakota State and Stephen F. Austin won their 12-5 matchups last year … Arkansas held a 36-16 points in the paint advantage … Wofford shot just 31.6 percent (18-of-57) from the floor. Three of the four games decided at Veterans Memorial Arena were decided by a combined six points. No. 14 seed Georgia State shocked third-seeded Baylor 57-56 to start the day and fourth-seeded North Carolina fended off No. 13 seed Harvard in the opener of the evening session. Xavier and Georgia State play Saturday at 6:10 p.m.

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