Hogs Keep Score Close vs. No. 6 Orange in SEC-Big East Challenge
Behind 52 points from the Orange’s two best seniors, No. 6 Syracuse held off Arkansas in a rowdy Bud Walton Arena Friday, 91-82. Arkansas was able to pull close at times, but timely shooting by the Orange most of the game continued to extend their lead until the final whistle sounded.
The loss snapped a 25-game home nonconference winning streak, dating back to 2010.
Syracuse senior James Southerland had 35 points off the bench and shot 9-13 from 3-point range. The 6-foot 8-inch Southerland was a matchup problem for the Razorbacks, who didn’t have anyone with his size who could defend him on the perimeter. Fellow senior Brandon Triche finished with 17 points as well.
“He can shoot that ball real good. Even the times I thought I was there, he still hit it,” said junior Marshawn Powell referring to Southerland.
BJ Young proved he can get it done against a national powerhouse like Syracuse. He had 25 points on 10-23 shooting, and was clearly the Hogs’ best option of splitting Syracuse’s deadly 2-3 zone.
“He is good around the basket. I would hate to play him man-to-man. He is really good,” said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.
Because their best players, Triche and Southerland, were in foul trouble most of the second half, Marshawn Powell got many looks down low and was able to convert most of them. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while shooting 9-10 from the free-throw line.
Freshman guard DeQuavious Wagner saw by far his most minutes of the season against Syracuse, playing 23 tough ones. The 5-foot 10-inch Wagner played well in 23 minutes for the Razorbacks, hitting two key 3-pointers in the second half. His task was going up against Syracuse’s 6-foot 6-inch dynamic point guard Michael Carter-Williams.
“He looked like the guy that was controlling the show,” said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson.
The sophomore Carter-Williams averaged almost 10 assists per game coming in and nearly had a triple-double against the Hogs, going for 17 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds.
Jacorey Williams also saw an increase in minutes, as he and Coty Clarke were able to spread the zone on the outside in ways that Hunter Mickelson couldn’t at the post position. Mickelson finished with five points on only 11 minutes.
“A lot of times you match up with their zone, and they were doing a good job shutting down the passing lanes, so you have to spread to the outside,” Anderson said.
Arkansas played well overall but couldn’t prevent the 3-point shot when it mattered most. Southerland was 5-5 from 3-point range at one point, particularly in a point of the game when Syracuse was up 30-15 and it looked like things might get nasty. But the Hogs continued to battle back and managed to keep it within 10 points most of the game.
Arkansas was down by five with around 11 minutes remaining, then Brandon Triche hit back to back threes to put them back up by 11, a lead they would never come as close to relinquishing again.
“He’s got to make those threes, he’s got to be able to step up and do that,” said Boeheim. “Brandon needs to take the ball in those situations,” he added.
This was the first and only other time since the 1995 NCAA tournament when Arkansas and Syracuse have met. The Razorbacks prevailed that year 96-94 in overtime.
“I thought our guys gave maximum effort, but in the end you’ve got to make shots and you’ve got to make plays, and we didn’t,” Anderson said.
The Razorbacks continue their tough non-conference stretch with Oklahoma on Tuesday, followed by a game at No. 3 Michigan on Saturday.