While the Hogs controlled much of the second half of Saturday’s non-conference game in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the undefeated Razorback basketball team allowed the hometown Hilltoppers to climb back in the contest and force overtime, and Arkansas struggled to find a groove in the extra period, losing 86-79.
The Razorbacks (8-1) came into the game without a loss, and their 8-0 start was their best start to a season since the 1997-98 year. The Hilltoppers (7-3) lost back-to-back games to Louisville and Wright State before handing the Razorbacks their first loss of the season.
Arkansas led by four points with 36 seconds left in the game, but Western Kentucky managed to score five consecutive points to force overtime. The Hilltoppers outscored the Hogs in overtime 13-6 to defeat the Razorbacks Saturday night. The Razorbacks shot 42%, going 28-67 in the game. The Hilltoppers shot 46% in the game.
The Hogs fouled the Hilltoppers five times in the last five minutes of regulation. Western Kentucky turned those fouls into six points before hitting a three-pointer that forced overtime.
Western Kentucky trailed 73-70 when senior Jared Savage made a three-point shot with 26 seconds left in the game.
Arkansas junior Mason Jones had a chance to win the game in regulation but missed a three-pointer with one second left. Jones finished the game 1-9 including 0-4 from deep, but he had nine rebounds to go with his eight points in 36 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Desi Sills led the Razorbacks in scoring with 20 points on 7-11 shooting from the field and 3-7 on his three-point attempts in 36 minutes of action.
The Razorbacks were out-rebounded 44-39 and committed 23 fouls opposed to the Hilltoppers’ 19, allowing Western Kentucky to shoot 28 free throws. WKU scored five points at the foul line in overtime.
Arkansas shot 30% on three-point attempts on the night, going 9-30 from behind the arc. Western Kentucky shot 26% from deep, going 5-19.
Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman thinks his team has to work on reducing the 16 turnovers they had during the game, he said.
“I think turnovers have been a problem for us since we got together in the summer, and you can’t play on the road in a building that is full and turn the ball over 16 times,” Musselman said. ”I thought we were not tough with the ball in the first half, and it certainly carried on down the stretch.”
The Razorbacks continue non-conference play and will look to get back in the win column Saturday, Dec. 14 at Bud Walton Arena against the University of Tulsa. The game tips off at 12:30 p.m. and will be telecast on ESPNU.