Men's Basketball Falls to Arkansas, 99-86
Communications Sr. Associate
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks shot over 50 percent in both halves and held off a second half rally in which LSU was able to shoot over 60 percent from the field and three-point line to score a 99-86 shooting contest win over the Tigers Saturday night at Bud Walton Arena.
LSU falls to 9-9 overall and 1-6 in SEC play, while Arkansas is now 15-4 and 4-3 in the SEC.
Arkansas was able to open a 10-point first half lead as Arkansas made 15-of-27 field goals, including 6-of-12 from three-point range and 11-of-11 from the free throw line. The Tigers were held to just 37.5 percent (12-of-32) and just 2-of-12 from the arc to go with 11-of-16 free throw shooting.
In the second half, Arkansas again shot 51.4 percent (18-of-35) overall and 2-of-4 from the arc. But the Razorbacks began to miss at the line, making 14-of-24.
LSU was able to cut a 17-point Arkansas lead with 5:35 to play to six twice but Arkansas was able to continue to score and gradually built the margin back to the final 13 points. LSU shot over 60 percent for the third half this season, shooting 66.7 percent (20-of-30), including 5-of-8 from the arc.
However, the Tigers were unable to capitalize on free throw opportunities in the second half, making only 4-of-14. For the game LSU shot 51.6 percent (32-of-62), with seven treys and 15-of-30 at the line. Arkansas made one more field goal (33-of-62), eight treys and 25-of-35 at the stripe.
Freshman Skylar Mays of Baton Rouge had an outstanding night with a season high 22 points for the Tigers to go with six assists and two steals. Mays was 6-of-9 from the field with one trey and a nice 9-of-11 at the charity stripe. His previous high had been 14 points against VCU in the final game in the Bahamas on Nov. 25. Mays had that surpassed with 16 first half points.
Duop Reath added 17 points for LSU with Brandon Sampson getting 15, while Antonio Blakeney made it eight straight games with double figures with 14 points. Arkansas was paced by the 24 points of Moses Kingsley who made 10 field goals, including a trey. Anton Beard had 16, Daryl Macon 15 and Jalyn Barford and Dusty Hannahs had 14 points each.
Arkansas out rebounded the Tigers, 44-30, in the game, and, for the second straight games LSU was able to convert turnovers into more points with a 19-11 advantage in points off turnovers. The points in the paint were even at 38 each.
It didn’t take long for the Razorbacks to get a lead on LSU, getting up 10-4 after four minutes and then after a series of missed shots and turnovers by both teams, the lead went to 11 after a Beard layup and three-pointer by Beard made it 15-4, forcing an LSU timeout with 13:12 to play in the half. The game stayed in the 7-11 points range the rest of the first half, except for one point at the eight minute mark when Arkansas went up 13, 30-17.
The Tigers had cut it to six, 43-37, on a Reath layup with 1:11 to go in the first 20, but two free throws and a layup by Arkansas around two missed LSU treys put the Hogs up, 47-37, at intermission.
Unfortunately for LSU, Arkansas scored the first six points of the second half on buckets by Arlnado Cook, Kingsley and Barford to make it 53-37 before Blakeney would hit a trey at the 17:26 mark to get the game back to 13, 53-40. LSU would eventually take the game down to 10, at 72-62, on a Sampson three-pointer with 9:56 to go, but Arkansas would then find their way for easy buckets and/or free throw opportunities that pushed the game to 17 at 87-70 with 5:35 to go.
But again, as in the Auburn game, the Tigers would not let go. LSU would eventually go on an 8-0 run that featured a jumper by Reath, a three-point play by Mays and a three by Sampson to take the game down to eight at 89-81 with 4:22 to play.
After another Beard layup, Reath hit a jumper but missed a chance for a three-point play on a free throw. Arkansas missed a shot and Reath rebounded and Sims got a dunk on the other end off a Jalyn Patterson pass to put the margin to six, 91-85, with still 3:34 to go in the contest.
The teams traded making 1-of-2 free throws to keep the game at six, 92-86, with 2:30 to play, but Arkansas would score the next seven points for the final margin. LSU would miss its last five free throws the rest of the contest.
The Tigers will be back in the Maravich Center on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. for a matchup with Florida. The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and televised on the SEC Network.
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Coach Johnny Jones
Opening comments: “I knew coming in we would be playing a very tough, talented Arkansas basketball team. We needed to come out with an edge about us. In the first half I thought they got off to a good start. We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be in the initial part of the game, and they got comfortable. Second half we continued to battle and were more aggressive on the offensive end, creating opportunities for us. At the same time, we gave up too many layups and allowed them to continue to battle and it as tough for us to cut into the deficit even when we got flowing offensively we didn’t have enough on the defensive end to get stops and make it difficult for them.”
Q1 on Arkansas’ effort: “They did a great job driving the basketball. We have to do better of protecting the paint and rim, making them play over-top of us instead of by us. That’s where they broke us down. They did a great job of getting into the shot clock, driving the ball late, and making some late plays at the rim. That is an area of concern for us that showed up again tonight.”
Q2 on free throws: “One of the downfalls for us when we were aggressive is not knocking down our free throws in the bonus. We missed 15 of them tonight, when we had an opportunity to cut into the deficit. We didn’t execute at the free throw line. In the open floor Arkansas is very good and an aggressive defensive team. When we got by that first wave I thought they were able to make good decisions and plays laying it up or getting it to our shooters to knock down shots.”
On aggressiveness: “I just felt like I could take advantage of the high pick and roll. We kept going to it. I was just trying to do whatever it took for my team to win. I felt like scoring the ball today is what that would be.”
Coach Mike Anderson
Opening Statement: “Kudos to the greatest fans in the country. They showed up tonight and there was energy in the building. For those that have covered Arkansas/LSU games, it went as scripted. It was entertaining, up and down the floor, great plays and energy. I was proud of our guys for finding a way. We had some guys that didn’t play. Dustin Thomas didn’t play the first half for a team violation. Manuale Watkins was really sick. He is one of our energy guys, coming off one of his best games at Texas A&M, and he couldn’t give us anything tonight. Other guys had to step up and take advantage of those minutes…”
On Moses Kingsley being an all-around player: “I think he is scoring a lot of different ways. He is showing his versatility. If you look back on tape last year he was the same way. I think his strength is range shooting the basketball. He has always had a nice touch, but now he is more confident. He has put the time in for that. I commend him. Now he can put it on the floor and do other things that open the floor for other players. He is unselfish. That is the evolution of him. He has developed on and off the floor.”
On LSU’s Skylar Mays: “He did a good job of attacking. We didn’t do a good job keeping him in front of us. He was splitting our traps and our defense was not up to standard. Credit to him. He kept attacking and got an open floor. Transition defense in the second half wasn’t good at all. We were down the floor and they were throwing passes over the top of us for layups. They had some easy opportunity. He is a very good player.”