FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas scored 48 points in the paint and the Razorback bench outscored the LSU bench 32-0 as the Hogs blew open a tight game at halftime in a 85-65 win over the Tigers here Tuesday at Bud Walton Arena.
The loss was the third straight for the Tigers, who fell to 16-12 overall and 9-6 in Southeastern Conference play. With the win, the Razorbacks evened their record at 14-14 overall and improved to 7-8 in league play.
“We knew going in it was going to be a tough game here in Bud Walton arena,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “I thought in the first half our guys did a good job of playing hard and being active and we went into half only down a couple of points.
“Second half, Arkansas had their way getting post touches, scoring inside, and Kingsley had a great second half. We didn’t do a good enough job in the paint and we didn’t take care of the ball. They scored 24 points off of turnovers. They shot 63% in the second half and that put us in a position we couldn’t come back from.”
Ben Simmons led LSU with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while fellow freshman Antonio Blakeney added 22 points and made four of LSU’s seven three-pointers. Craig Victor II added 11 points for the Tigers, while Jalyn Patterson (6 points) and Tim Quarterman (3 points) rounded out the LSU scoring.
Moses Kingsley paced five Razorbacks in double-figures with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Other double-figure scorers for the Razorbacks were Dusty Hannahs with 17, Trey Thompson with 13, and Anthlon Bell and Jimmy Whitt with 12 apiece.
“I thought they did a good job of posting us,” Jones said of the Arkansas interior game. “Their guards got inside us on some penetration where we may have gambled and they kicked out and were able to hit some threes. They did a good job of recovering, settling down, and getting poised when we made our runs but overall I think the three pointers really got us in the second half. “
Trailing 34-32 at halftime, the Tigers twice got within one point during the opening minutes of the second half. Simmons’ jumper at the 18:56 made it 36-35 Arkansas. However, the Hogs followed with a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 42-35 on a Bell 3-pointer at the 17:41 mark.
Quarterman’s only basket of the game, a 3-pointer at the 17:10 mark, got LSU to within 42-38 before a 9-2 Arkansas run gave the Razorbacks a 51-40 lead with 14:48 to go. A Simmons free throw and a Blakeney 3-pointer got the Tigers back to within seven, 51-44, at the 13:55 mark.
After the Tigers pulled to within six, 53-46, on a Simmons free throw, the Razorbacks stretched the lead to 62-50 on a Thompson dunk at the 9:30 mark. The Arkansas lead dipped below double-figures once during the final nine minutes of the game, 63-54, following a pair of Blakeney free throws with 7:48 to go.
The Razorbacks connected on 33-of-61 shots (54.1 percent) for the contest, including 19-of 30 shots for 63.3 percent in the second half. Arkansas also made eight three-pointers, five of which came during the decisive second half.
LSU managed to shoot just 35.1 percent from the field on 20-of-57 shooting, which included 9-of-30 (30.0 percent) in the second half when the Tigers were outscored 51-33.
“We’re not playing at the level that we need to, to be able to play against good basketball teams right now,” Jones said. “There are stretches in the game we need to do a better job of controlling. “
The Tigers return to action on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when they host Florida at the Maravich Center.
LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones
Opening Statement: “We knew going in it was going to be a tough game here in Bud Walton arena. I thought in the first half our guys did a good job of playing hard and being active and we went into half only down a couple of points. Second half, Arkansas had their way getting post touches, scoring inside, and Kingsley had a great second half. We didn’t do a good enough job in the paint and we didn’t take care of the ball. They scored 24 points off of turnovers. They shot 63% in the second half and that put us in a position we couldn’t come back from.”
Overall: “We’re not playing at the level that we need to, to be able to play against good basketball teams right now. There are stretches in the game we need to do a better job of controlling. “
On Kingsley and Arkansas Offense: “I thought they did a good job of posting us. Their guards got inside us on some penetration where we may have gambled and they kicked out and were able to hit some threes. They did a good job of recovering, settling down, and getting poised when we made our runs but overall I think the three pointers really got us in the second half. “
On Arkansas Forwards: “I thought their team did a great job of sharing the ball. They have become very confident. Their post players took their time, got the ball where they needed it, and took good shots. I thought Kingsley and Thompson both delivered for them tonight.”
On other factors: “We didn’t have the depth we usually do tonight. With Hornsby out, and a couple other guys sick, we have three guys in rotation that couldn’t play with us tonight. However, I don’t think any of their absences were big factors in why we lost tonight. We have to get better.”
ARKANSAS POST GAME
Moses Kingsley & Trey Thompson
Thompson on his career high: “I just went out and played. My teammates put me in a great position to score. I didn’t know I had a career high until someone told me.”
Kingsley on bench play: “Coach has been emphasizing our bench coming in and contributing big, and we were able to make stops and get on a run. “
Kingsley: “We just tried to be physical. Coach told me I wasn’t being physical after the first half he wasn’t happy with me. We played in and out more in the second half than we did in the first half and we executed better in the second half. (The win) feels very good. It was a heartbreaking loss in Baton Rouge and we came out today and tried to be more aggressive than we were last time. “
Kingsley on Ben Simmons: “He’s a good player. One oft the best in our league and we just tried to be physical and we made him turn the ball over a little bit, which turned into open shots and dunks and all of that. This has to be one of the most complete games we’ve played. Starting tomorrow next practice we have to continue to get better until the next game.”
Thompson: “Coach said we still haven’t played our best basketball yet. We just have to take it day by day one game at a time, but this one does feel pretty good.”
Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson:
Opening Statement: “First, this was a continuance of what we did against Missouri. I can’t say enough about the guys coming off the bench. I think they score 19 of the 34 points in the second half. Their offense came off of defense. Simmons is one of the best players in the country no doubt about it. Our guys made sure he didn’t just dominate the game. We had some guys really step up and play well Trey Thompson was playing so well with 6 minutes left and he wanted to come out and he was tired and I told him no I couldn’t risk that and just as I did that he grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up. Jimmy had a big game too. Now we are getting that productivity off our bench, it was a great team win. Credit our defense. “
On Moses Kingsley: “I started the halftime talk right at Moses, and he responded. My voice carries in the locker room, trust me it does. He knew I was right in what I was saying. I thought he wasn’t playing like he was capable. Moses has the trickle effect on our team when he has energy it can change the momentum of everyone. The team rallies around him. When you play defense first the offense comes easily. We played unselfish basketball tonight. We made the extra pass.”
On the bench: “They are starting to understand their role on this basketball team. At one point tonight we were up 10 or 12 and they cut the lead down to 8, I kept them in because they build their confidence and dig themselves out of it. This time of year, sometimes your body is so in tune and some of our team is playing their best basketball. Hopefully this is a sign of us taking it to our next level in play. Our guys bought it today. LSU was shorthanded for the most part. I thought our guys did a good job defensively making them work for every basket.”
On his 100th win at Arkansas: “To me, I don’t worry about the wins. I think about the lives I touched, at UAB, Missouri, here, I owe it all to them. Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job. I am just steering the ship. There are more games like that to be won. I had no idea that I would ever be in coaching, but I guess I must be doing something right.”