The Razorback men’s basketball team (10-4, 2-4 SEC) endured a 90-59 defeat versus the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-3, 6-0) at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Hogs have now lost four of their past five competitions.
As they did in their previous outing against LSU, the Razorbacks struggled mightily to find any semblance of offense in the first half. Arkansas scored just five total points through the first 10 minutes of the game.
After making the game’s first basket, the Hogs were outscored 22-3, allowing the Crimson Tide to take a commanding lead. Much to Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman’s dismay, Alabama launched 3-point attempts at will.
“Obviously this group is struggling much more than last year’s group at defending the 3 and scoring the ball,” Musselman said in the postgame press conference. “All the drills that we’ve done on defending the 3...obviously my message or my coaching is not getting through on defending the 3-ball.”
Alabama made 15 of its 36 attempts from deep. Meanwhile, Arkansas converted just 21 of 63 (33%) shot attempts, including 4-17 from long-range.
Arkansas entered halftime of Saturday’s game trailing 42-19, with 12 turnovers contributing to the struggles. Freshman guard Moses Moody shouldered the scoring load for Arkansas and scored all but five of the team’s first half points.
Moody finished the game with 28 points and nine rebounds to lead the Hogs in both categories.
“I thought Moses (Moody) played well and he was aggressive,” Musselman said. “He did a good job coming off some screens on some of our set plays.”
Moody acknowledged his team’s lack of offensive support in the postgame press conference.
“A lot of the scoring was coming from me,” Moody said. “It was just what my team needed me to do at that time.”
Senior forward Justin Smith worked his way back into the lineup after sitting out the past few games due to an ankle injury. Although Smith was unable to get any scrimmage time during practice because of the quick turnaround between games, Musselman was pleased with his performance nonetheless.
“He kind of played like we expected he would,” Musselman said. “I thought it was good to have him back (and) I thought he did a good job moving the basketball.”
Arkansas will return to Bud Walton Arena as the team looks to avoid its third straight conference loss against Auburn on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. Amid the team’s struggles, Musselman and Moody emphasized the importance of confidence.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt when you’re losing like we are that we definitely have some players that have lost some confidence and probably the team as a whole,” Musselman said.
Moody was optimistic about the Hogs’ chances of turning their season around.
“It’s still the beginning of the season,” Moody said. “It’s the best time for something like this to happen, so we can learn from it now instead of later.”
The Hogs have a significant opportunity to right the ship rather quickly. Arkansas’ next three opponents are a combined 3-12 in Southeastern Conference play.
“I feel like at your lowest point you’re open to the greatest change,” Moody said. “We’ve had a couple (of) tough games but you know they say ‘if you can make it through the night, there’s a brighter day.”