The 1991 SEC Championship Team From LSU Introduced To The Crowd Saturday At Halftime.
Steve Franz

Men's Basketball Falls to Arkansas, 78-70

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

BATON ROUGE – It was a different script this time for the LSU Tigers in their 78-70 loss to Arkansas Saturday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

With the 1991 Southeastern Conference championship team with star player Shaquille O’Neal courtside, the Tigers came out and played with confidence dominating the boards, getting good scoring opportunities and getting to the line to the tune of a 40-31 halftime advantage over the Hogs.

But the first half didn’t carry over to the second half and LSU was unable to put together the 40 minutes needed to sustain the game. LSU found itself scrambling to cover runouts from misses and the Hogs would begin hitting threes. The Tigers turned the ball over 10 times and Arkansas used a 24-6 run in the first 7:30 of the second half to flip the game and go up 55-46 and it was an advantage LSU could never completely recover from, getting out scored, 47-30, in the final 20 minutes.

Antonio Blakeney and Duop Reath had double doubles and combined for 35 points and 27 rebounds on the night. Blakeney had the second double up of his career with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting with one trey and 12 rebounds, while Reath had his sixth of his season with 14 points on 7-of-16 shooting and 15 rebounds, including six offensive.

Brandon Sampson was the other Tiger in double figures with 12 points.

Arkansas was led by Dusty Hannahs, who had 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-10 three-pointers (four in the second half rally). Also with 17 points was Daryl Macon who was 5-of-11 from the field with two treys and 5-7 at the line. Anton Beard had 11 with 6-of-6 of that coming at the line.

LSU shot 38.8 percent for the game (26-of-67), including 4-of-15 from the arc. The Tigers scored 40 of their points in the paint. Arkansas after making just 10-of-27 in the first half, shot 53.8 percent in the final 20 minutes (14-of-26) with seven treys. For the game the Razorbacks were 24-of-53 for 45.3 percent and 10-of-26 at the arc. Arkansas was 20-of-27 from the free throw line.

The game was tied three times in the first half with LSU using an 8-0 run on an Aaron Epps layup, a bucket by Reath, followed by a dunk by the Australian and a dunk off a Skylar Mays steal that led to a Blakeney dunk on the other end to go up 25-16 with 8:36 in the first half.

The Tigers had another run in the half up 26-19 on a dunk by Reath, one free throw by Blakeney, a layup and then two more free throws by Blakeney to go up 33-19 with 4:13 to play in the half. Arkansas made a run to cut it to seven, 38-31, in the final minute of the half, but Wayde Sims made two free throws to make it 40-31 in favor of LSU.

And for the 80 seconds of the second half, all seemed good for the Tigers despite an opening possession turnover and two missed three-pointers by the Razorbacks. Sampson would hit a three-pointer at the 18:38 mark to push the game back to 11, 42-31. But two Hannahs three-pointers and a Macon trey combined around a blocked LSU shot and two Tiger turnovers cut the game to 42-40, with 17:16 to play.

After an LSU miss, an offensive rebound, and Arkansas foul and an LSU turnover, the Razorbacks tied the game at 42-42 with 16:14 to play.

Blakeney would score back to back layups to give LSU a 46-42 lead but Hannahs busted another three to cut the game to one at 46-45. The teams traded missed shots and out of a timeout, the Tigers turned the ball over and Hannahs had the layin at the 14:09 mark to give Arkansas the lead for good at 47-46.

LSU falls to 9-15 overall and 1-11 in the SEC, while Arkansas remains alive in the big for an NCAA at-large bid at 18-7 and 7-5 in the conference.

The Tigers will be on the road next week for two games, traveling to Ole Miss for a Tuesday game at the Pavilion at 8 p.m. and at Alabama next Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. contest at Coleman Coliseum. Both games will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and telecast by the SEC Network.

Opening statement …
“I thought we came out and played a good first half of basketball. In the first 20 minutes, I thought a lot of good things happened on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively. In the second half, we didn’t need to play a good second half; we needed to play a great second half to make sure that we were able to secure victory. We had some opportunities in the first half that we didn’t take advantage of and needed to capitalize on. The first five minutes were going to be important. We came back out in the second half, unfortunately, as though we were a team who was satisfied with what we were in the first half. We allowed (Arkansas) to get off the mat and play and become a confident basketball team in the second half. We did not play tough enough to put ourselves in the position to secure victory.”

On the team entering the game confidently …
“I thought we got off to a good start at home. I thought we’ve had good practices. I thought we have been playing well, but again, it’s about consistency in having the ability to put ourselves in the position to not think that when things are going well that we get bored with it. Then we try to put ourselves in the position to do too much. We had six turnovers in the first half, sharing the basketball, making good plays. We wound up having 10 turnovers in the second half, trying to force the action and the issue, trying to make too many individual plays. Against a team like this (Arkansas), who is handsy and extremely quick and a good defensive basketball team, you can’t play that way. We created some offensive opportunities, easy scoring, because of the way that we played on the offensive end.”


On what went right in the first half…
“In the first half we were playing defense and letting it contribute to offense. Playing good defense got us out on the break and we got easy points.”

On what was different in the second half from the first…
“We turned the ball over. I think we had 10 turnovers in the second half, so we gave them easy opportunities. We didn't do a good job of getting into the gaps and making the next play.”

On if some emotion from the Kentucky game carried over…
“I think so to start, just not for the whole 40 minutes. That's our problem, we didn't do it for the whole 40 minutes.”

On if having Shaq and the 1991 team in the PMAC motivated them…
“Definitely. Shaq talked to us before the game and motivated us. He’s a Hall of Famer. He said we had to play hard and that the tradition of the school isn’t built for how we’re playing.”


On what they were doing on the boards…
“We just came in and wanted to dominate. I think last game they won the rebounding count. We just had to be aggressive inside. We didn't carry it out in the second half very well.”

Opening statement …
“What a tale of two halves. You hear that all the time, but for us it was. I thought the biggest difference in this game was probably, you know, we’re down 14 and we made a nice little run there. Had it down to seven points, and with the ball I think we ended up fouling, and they got to go up nine points at halftime. I thought we found a rhythm with the group of guys. And LSU came out on fire, which I knew they would. They had a lot of emotion going on, had big Shaq in the house, Shaquille O’Neal, and I’m sure he probably gave them a pep speech, and they were ready. They came out with a lot of energy. They were attacking us off the dribble and so in the second half we did a better job of trying to contain them. We went to our matchup zone and tried to make them shoot jump shots. We rebounded a little bit better out of that. To get beat by twenty on the boards and somehow you find a way to win, that’s a credit to our guys. We got to the free-throw line and we made our free throws. But the defense in the second half and Dusty Hannahs had a nice rhythm going. I thought [Daryl] Macon came up there and played well for us. Dustin Thomas, I thought he was really big in this game. He almost had a double-double. So we had a lot of guys that contributed. Anton Beard, I think he’s a solid force. But our defense created turnovers, even out of the half-court defense. We always talk about just trying to make adjustments to what teams are doing and we did a much better job of keeping the ball out of the middle and keeping them from getting so many layups, especially in the second half.”

Opening statement …
“We came out and just were laying an egg, not playing good defense. At halftime we realized after the struggles we had that it was time to come out and get rolling, and we did that. It was just a good win to get. They’re the last-place team in the conference, but any road win is a win we’re going to take it. ”

On going on a run before the end of the first half …
“That’s important. When you’re double digits in halftime, than going in with the other team having a single-digit lead. It’s less pressure on you. It let us know we’re right there in striking distance, and we came out and took care of business.”

On the defensive keys to winning the game …
“Especially in the second half, we weren’t giving up anything easy around the rim. It seemed like they were struggling to even hit easy two’s by the rim. We were attacking every play on defense and being aggressive, deflecting balls.”



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