The Razorback men’s basketball team (10-3) suffered a convincing 92-76 loss to the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Wednesday evening.
Arkansas held a three-point lead just two minutes into the game, but LSU promptly responded with a 19-0 run in a span of six minutes to give the Tigers a 22-7 advantage. The onslaught from the home team forced Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman to call three timeouts in the early stages of the game in an effort to slow down the opponent’s momentum.
“I would have called three more or five more or ten more if I would have had them,” Musselman said in his postgame interview.
The frequent stops of play were ineffective in ironing out the kinks in the offense or tightening the defense. Musselman said he thought that his team lacked focus and effort throughout the game.
“I thought we had guys try to do things that are not characteristic of them...just an overall poor performance,” Musselman said.
Arkansas trailed by as much as 31 in the first half before a 12-0 run by the Hogs brought the score to 44-25.
“It’s hard to win when you have a guy go one of eight (Vance Jackson) and a guy go one of eleven (Davonte Davis),” Musselman said. “If your shots aren’t falling, you’ve got to have better shot selection.”
The starting lineup for the Hogs shot just 26% from the field. Freshman guard Moses Moody was the only starter to score double figures, with 18 points.
Junior guard JD Notae scored 22 points and led the Razorbacks in scoring for the third time in the past four games. However, Musselman was not overly excited about his performance in the defeat.
“He can score the ball but he’s got to defend (and) he’s got to move the ball more,” Musselman said. “Look, the only guy I thought really played hard or actually two guys, I think Jaylin Williams and Moses (Moody) put forth effort,”
Freshman forward Jaylin Williams tied his career high of nine rebounds and was the lone Hog to shoot above 50% from the court.
“I feel like we were getting open shots in the beginning of the game, (but) we just weren’t knocking them down,” Williams said in his postgame press conference. “We’ve just got to be smarter with the ball,”
The inability to convert at the rim has haunted the Hogs in the past few Southeastern Conference matchups, including Wednesday’s convincing defeat.
“When you’ve got guys (who) combine for 2 for 20...I don’t see anybody on their stat sheet that shot the ball that poorly,” Musselman said.
Arkansas is now just 1-3 without senior forward Justin Smith, who has been sitting out after undergoing ankle surgery. Smith was a critical presence in the post for the Razorbacks before his injury.
“I thought that LSU was more physical and tougher,” Musselman said. “We had zero answers for (Trendon) Watford and (Darius) Days, zero.”
The duo combined for 41 points and 23 rebounds for the Tigers.
Arkansas will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to face the No. 16 Crimson Tide on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on SEC Network.