2022 SEC MBB Tournament semifinal

Arkansas’ JD Notae lays on the floor as his teammates hover over him during Saturday’s game against Texas A&M. The Razorbacks fell 82-64 to the Aggies in the semifinal of the SEC Tournament.

The fourth-seeded Arkansas men’s basketball team got bounced from the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Tampa, Florida, after losing 82-64 to the surging eighth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies in the semifinal round Saturday.

“They were more together than us today,” Senior guard Stanley Umude said in the postgame press conference. “They were just the tougher team.”

The Razorbacks fell behind early and trailed by six before even putting a point on the board. Arkansas never fought its way back or held a lead in the game.

“We didn’t play very well at all,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said. “Not happy about it at all. Today was not what Arkansas has been over these last two months.”

The Aggies kept the pressure on and took a 21-11 lead with 6:48 left in the first half. The lead only grew, and A&M took a 36-24 lead into halftime.

A jumper from sophomore guard Davonte Davis brought the game within five  to 41-36 at the 15:58 mark of the second half. A pair of back-to-back 3-pointers from Umude gave Arkansas a chance and cut the Aggie lead to just 47-44 with 12:16 left. A&M came back with a five-point burst of unanswered offense.

The Razorbacks never came within two possessions of the Aggies again. The last 10 minutes were all A&M.

Senior guard JD Notae struggled heavily for the second straight game of the tournament. The Aggies locked him up all afternoon, only allowing him to put up eight shots, two of which he made. They also blanked Notae from beyond the arc, keeping him 0-5 from deep.

“It wasn’t just offense (for Notae),” Musselman said. “It was both sides of the basketball, to be honest with you. I can’t remember JD’s defense being like that since we’ve been together.”

Umude was the most consistent offensive producer for the Hogs. He led the team with 20 points on 7-13 shooting. Umude was the only Razorback to hit a 3-pointer, knocking down all three of Arkansas’ 18 attempts from 3-point range.

Senior guard Au’Diese Toney had another impressive game. He was second on the team with 18 points on 6-9 shooting, but he lacked the rebounding production he showed in the quarterfinal against LSU. Toney only picked up three boards to go along with his offensive play.

Sophomore forward Jaylin Williams had a frustrating game. He finished with four points on 2-5 shooting, but did snag nine rebounds. He usually has elite court vision and passing prowess, but he turned the ball over a game-high five times.

The Hogs earned a four seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they will take on the 13th-seeded Vermont Catamounts at 8:20 p.m. Thursday in Buffalo, New York. The game will be broadcast on TNT.

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