Jaylin Williams

Arkansas sophomore forward Jaylin Williams protects the ball during the Razorbacks' Dec. 29, 2021, game against Mississippi State. Williams recorded his third consecutive double-double in Saturday's win over LSU.

Sophomore forward Jaylin Williams hit the go-ahead 3-pointer and drew a charge on the other end, sending the Razorback bench into a frenzy in the last two minutes of an exciting matchup Saturday. The sequence sealed a 65-58 upset over the No. 12-ranked LSU Tigers for the Arkansas men’s basketball team.

The Razorbacks moved to 12-5 on the year with the victory. The win was the Hogs’ second in a row in conference play after dropping their first three SEC games.

The Razorbacks were without head coach Eric Musselman, who was home recovering from shoulder surgery, so assistant coach Keith Smart presided over the victory in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“You can coach as long as you want in the NBA, but this is a different environment,” said Smart, who has 19 years of NBA coaching experience, in the postgame press conference. “I shared with Coach Musselman that I have to coach how I coach. He understood, and all he cared about was us getting a win.”

The first half was mostly neck-and-neck. The Tigers pulled away slightly and led by as many as seven points a few times early on, but the Razorbacks managed to storm back and close the distance.

LSU took a 33-31 lead into halftime. Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, especially from the 3-point line. The Razorbacks were 0-8 from deep in the first period, with the Tigers not much better at just 3-10.

The Tigers went into the second half and kept the Razorbacks at arm’s length, but could not put them away. Arkansas did not hold a lead of its own for the first 15 minutes of the second half, but it never let the Tigers’ lead grow past 10 and managed to tie the game.

With 9:01 left in the game, LSU had its biggest lead of the second half after a dunk made the score 56-48. The Hogs responded by rattling off 10 straight points and took a 58-56 lead with 3:31 left.

The Tigers responded with an emphatic slam to tie the game at 58 with just 2:16 on the clock. Williams, an 18% 3-point shooter on the year, hit the shot that put Arkansas up 61-58 with 1:12 on the clock.

“Coach Smart told me coming out of a timeout that I was going to be open for 3,” Williams said. “They just told me to be confident and take that 3. I felt that confidence, I let it fly and it went in.”

Williams’ late game heroics came on both ends of the court, as he drew a charge on the next defensive possession and turned LSU over, allowing Arkansas to hit its free throws and ice the win.

Senior guard JD Notae, the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, led the Hogs in scoring once again. He dropped 19 points on 7-13 shooting and added four assists. His shot selection was much better than it has been in previous games. He was a much more efficient scorer, and he played a disciplined game down the stretch with four fouls.

“JD always hits the big shots,” Williams said. “Every time he hits a big shot, he always goes for a little poke or a steal on defense. I told him that we didn’t need that tonight and he did a good job not picking up that fifth foul.”

Williams continued to display his leadership, doing a little bit of everything to help the Razorbacks win. He had 11 points on 4-7 shooting, 13 rebounds, a block, three steals and drew four charges. Saturday marked his third double-double in a row.

Arkansas will look to carry its momentum back home to Fayetteville as it will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bud Walton Arena. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.