Sidney Moncrief stole the ball from Keith Anderson with four seconds left and fed Jim Counce for a layup at the buzzer as Arkansas brought an end to Cal State, Fullerton's miracle yesterday with a rock 'em sock 'em 61-58 victory at University Arena.
The victory in the West Regional final sends Arkansas to the national semifinals in St. Louis Saturday, where it will play Mideast champion Kentucky.
Arkansas led by 15 points at half-time and then almost fell apart against Fullerton's frantic full-court pressure.
Fullerton went ahead for the first time at 58-57 with 1:38 on a jump shot from the deep corner by Anderson, his 16th and 17th points of the half.
But Ron Brewer, who led Arkansas with 22 points, sank a 20-footer with 1:23 to play to put the Razorbacks back on top by one.
Anderson missed two attempts in the final minute, but Counce missed a free throw with 14 seconds left, and Anderson rebounded. He hurried the ball up court, but as he got inside the key and brought the ball up for a shot, Moncrief grabbed it from him and fed Counce at the other end.
Fullerton began the game in a 2-1-2 zone defense with center Steve Shaw sliding up and back, making it a 3-2 sometimes and a 2-3 others.
It didn't matter because with Shaw going no further out than the top of the key, Brewer could stand out there and shoot whenever he felt like it. Brewer took six of Arkansas' first seven shots and made four of them, accounting for all of the Razorbacks' points as they moved to an 8-4 lead.
Fullerton tied it at 8-8 on back-to-back baskets by Kevin Heenan and Shaw. But then, the Razorbacks ran off 10 straight points, four by Moncrief, four more by Brewer and two by Marvin Delph.
It was that trio that accounted for 62 points in Arkansas' semifinal victory of UCLA Thursday night.
Delph had 18 points in the first half of that game and yesterday it was Brewer's turn to get a lot of points early.
That 10 point Arkansas spurt gave the Razorbacks an 18-8 lead with 11:16 to play in the half and Brewer already had 12 points.
Fullerton called a timeout and went man-to-man defense in an attempt to slow Arkansas.
The Razorbacks patiently worked the ball around until they could get it inside to 6-foot-11 center Steve Schall. Schall scored six points, Moncrief added a free throw and in a few moments, Arkansas had a 13-point lead.
A fast break from Schall to Brewer to Moncrief gave the Razorbacks a 37-inside to 6-foot-11 center Steve Schall. 22 lead with 2:28 left in the half and they took a 15-point lead to the dressing room at the break, 39-24.
Fullerton got as far as it has in the tournament with great outside shooting and by playing poised and confident, just waiting for its higher-ranked opponents to crumble.
Arkansas plays a tough man-to-man defense and no Fullerton shots came easy in the first half. As a result the result, he Titans shot only 37 percent while Arkansas made 64 percent of its shots.
Moncrief, who sustained a concussion, a jammed finger, a bruised shoulder and a bruised back in a fall late in the UCLA game, was not quite up to his usual form in the first half yesterday, but still scored nine points.
Coach Eddie Sutton took him out of the game for a minute's rest midway through the half and Moncried immediately put an ice pack to the back of his head.
Fullerton came out in the second half with the same intense man-to-man full court pressure it used to make up 12-point halftime deficit against San Francisco in its semifinal victory over the Dons Thursday.
It bothered Arkansas and the Razorbacks were outscored, 7-2, at the start of the period and had their lead cut to 10.
By simply moving the ball for good shots and using its superior quickness, the Titans started getting open from 15 feet and the shots started falling.
Keith Anderson sank a pair of baskets from the corner and then with 13:48 left, he made a difficult baseline jumper to cut Arkansas' lead to 43-35.
Arkansas was taken out of its game so much that it scored only four points in the first 11 minutes of the second half.
A fast-break basket by Greg Bunch after Mike Linden stole the ball from Brewer brought Fullerton to within six points at 43-37 with 12:20 to play, but then Schall hit two close-in jumpers in a row and the Razorbacks had a 10-point lead at 47-37 with 9:53 left.