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Forstson leads Arkansas past Georgia
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ATHENS — Arkansas, which managed only two Southeastern Conference wins one year ago, suddenly looks like a contender in the SEC West.

Courtney Fortson scored 27 points, including five free throws in the last 40 seconds, and Arkansas wiped out a big halftime deficit to beat Georgia 72-68 on Wednesday night.

The Razorbacks (11-11, 4-3 SEC) have won three straight conference games for the first time since a four-game streak in the 2007-08 season.

"I think we are finding ways to win at the end of the game just by being tough," Fortson said. "It didn't surprise me that we were able to come here and pull out a victory. We're playing really well right now and have the right chemistry. Everything is clicking."

The Razorbacks trailed 37-22 at halftime before taking the lead with a 26-8 run to open the second half.

"It's good to see those guys show some heart and some resiliency," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "Being down 15 is certainly not a place that you want to be."

Mike Washington scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for Arkansas, which began the night only one game out of first place in the SEC West.

The Bulldogs (9-11, 1-6) lost their shooting touch and momentum after the break. Georgia made only two shots from the field in the first 10 minutes of the half.

Georgia continued its trend of losing close games in the SEC. It was Georgia's fourth conference loss by no more than four points.

The Bulldogs' streak of three straight SEC losses also includes a 78-77 loss at South Carolina.

Georgia first-year coach Mark Fox criticized his team's lack of improvement on defense.

"Our team hasn't made progress in that department," he said. "Our defense just failed us tonight. We hung in there in the first half and did a good job, but then it failed us in the second half.

"Our inability to make stops is crushing this team, and it's really plagued us recently. We're in a tough situation."

Fortson had 19 points in the second half and made 12 of 16 free throws.

"You really have to give him credit because he's a great player," Fox said. "He just wanted it more than we did down the stretch."

Arkansas made 16 of 25 shots from the field (64 percent) in the second half to finish at 49 percent for the game.

Trey Thompkins led Georgia with 21 points, but he made only 8 of 20 shots from the field. Travis Leslie had 14 points and Dustin Ware and Jeremy Price each added 11.

The Bulldogs made only two shots from the field in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Fortson, Marcus Britt, Stef Welsh and the other Arkansas guards turned up the defensive pressure in the second half to try to contain Georgia's inside game with Thompkins, Price and others.

"We knew if they get you in a halfcourt set they score at a very high rate," Welsh said. "We wanted to come out and we wanted to attack. We wanted to force the tempo with our break and they wouldn't be as fresh down the stretch."

Arkansas scored the first five points before Georgia took control with 15 straight points. Dustin Ware started the run with a jumper and 3-pointer.

Price had 11 points off the bench in the first half.

Britt left the court at the end of the first half believing he had made a 3-point shot at the buzzer. After a long review, officials waved it off, saying time expired.

The ruling left Georgia with the 37-22 lead. Georgia led 45-33 before Arkansas scored 15 unanswered points.

A jumper by Marshawn Powell, who had 11 points and nine rebounds, gave Arkansas a 46-45 lead with 10:44 remaining. It was the Razorbacks' first lead since the opening minutes.

There were four ties, the last at 59.

"We have to get better on defense or we can't win games," Thompkins said. "We need to take care of it quick."

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