The Arkansas Razorbacks got back in the win column against the TCU Horned Frogs, 78-67, on Saturday in front of the third sellout in Bud Walton Arena this season.
Arkansas (15-4, 3-3) managed a win without its second leading scorer, sophomore Isaiah Joe, who was sidelined with a knee injury. The Hogs managed without him, as the team shot 54% from the field and 66.7% from three in the game. TCU (13-6, 4-2) could not handle the fast-paced play of Arkansas as the Horned Frogs recorded 19 turnovers and allowed 18 fast-break points.
“I thought it was our best game of the year on both sides of the ball,” Razorback head coach Eric Musselman said. “I thought our shot selection from three was awesome. I didn’t think we took any bad shots, thought it was the most efficient offensive game we’ve had all season long.”
The Horned Frogs were coming off of a huge win against No. 18 Texas Tech, a team that reached the national championship game last year. Though that was a big victory, TCU lost its previous two games to Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Arkansas went with an unusual starting lineup, as sophomore Reggie Chaney and junior Jalen Harris landed as starters. Neither had started all season. Sophomore Desi Sills, a usual starter, found himself coming off of the bench for the Hogs.
“It was all about next man up,” Sills said. “Coach called (Harris) up and I had to be ready, I couldn’t get down. I just had to be prepared and do what I had to do to help this team win.”
Junior Mason Jones splashed his first three of the game on the first Razorback possession of the second half. After a made jumper by Whitt, senior Desmond Bane of TCU silenced the Bud Walton Arena crowd with two straight three pointers to bring the game to one possession.
An unpopular foul called on Bailey as he attempted to block a dunk by TCU sophomore Kevin Samuel enraged the Razorback fans and brought a much-needed spark to the Hogs. Two possessions later, Bailey drove down the court and converted a three-point play to give Arkansas a 49-40 lead.
At the 10:12 mark, TCU head coach Jamie Dixon landed himself a technical foul. Less than two minutes later, Sills knocked down a three to push the lead to 59-48 and give the Razorbacks their first double-digit lead of the game.
By the 5:35 mark, the Hogs were running the shot clock down to one on each possession. It proved to be costly as the ill-advised shots late in the shot clock led to no points, and TCU narrowed the lead to 71-62 with 2:35 remaining in the game.
The game ended slowly, as both teams committed foul after foul. The Hogs took advantage of the late-game free-throws and held their lead steady until the clock hit zero.
Samuel recorded a double-double for TCU with 24 points and 18 rebounds. Whitt scored 20 points for the Hogs.
The Hogs will take on South Carolina (10-8, 2-3) Wednesday night in Bud Walton Arena at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. The Gamecocks’ marquee victory on the season came over Kentucky on Jan. 15.