For the second time in four games, the Arkansas Razorbacks looked inept and overwhelmed against a veteran SEC squad as the LSU Tigers dominated the Hogs nearly wire-to-wire in a 92-76 SEC win Wednesday at the Pete Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Arkansas (10-3, 2-3 SEC) has now lost 3 of its last 4 games as it fell to 1-2 in road contests, and the Hogs have lost to LSU (9-2, 4-1 SEC) in 3 of the last 5 meetings between the two schools. Second-year head coach Eric Musselman slipped to 10-14 in SEC games. In the Hogs’ second game of league play against a physical, veteran Missouri team on Jan. 2, not much went right in a forgettable performance that resulted in a 13-point loss at home. On Wednesday against LSU, the Razorbacks cued up another throw-it-out-the-window effort in their fifth league matchup of the season.
The Hogs were crushed beneath a 40-6 LSU first-half run that put the Tigers ahead by 31 points, 44-13, at the 6:10 mark and effectively put a stamp on the outcome. The Tigers led by 20 points at halftime and were still ahead by 20 with 5 minutes left in the game before letting off the gas as the Hogs closed within the final 16-point margin.
LSU was plus-9 in rebounding (48-39), plus-4 in second-chance-points (25-21), and plus-14 in points-in-the-paint (48-34). With the two teams coming in owning the SEC’s best scoring offenses, LSU made a statement by shooting 52.3% (34-of-65) compared to Arkansas’ 34.2% (26-of-76), and the Tigers surpassed their season scoring average while holding the Hogs 12 points below their average.
LSU was led by sophomore combo forward Trendon Watford’s double-double — 23 points (9-of-16 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws) and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Darius Days also had a double-double — 18 points (8-of-10 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3) and 13 rebounds. The SEC’s leading scorer, freshman guard Cam Thomas, started after being questionable due to a sprained ankle suffered against Ole Miss on Saturday and finished with 17 points against the Hogs. The Tigers had two more players score in double figures.
“I needed to do a better job coaching,” a frustrated Musselman said in his postgame interview. “I think Jaylin Williams and Moses (Moody) put forth effort. Other than that, I thought LSU outcompeted us … LSU’s really talented and they took it to us.”
Junior guard JD Notae led Arkansas with 22 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Moody, a 6-6 freshman guard from Little Rock and the team’s leading scorer on the season, finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Junior guard Desi Sills of Jonesboro had 14 points and 4 rebounds off the bench while Williams, the 6-10 freshman big man from Fort Smith, came in to contribute 7 points (2-of-3 field goals and 3-of-3 free throws), a career-high-matching 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and 1 steal.
“We’ve got to find a way to fight back in a game,” Williams said. “I feel like we didn’t bring it like we should have. We’ve just got to come hard the next game.”
Next up for the Hogs is another road game on Saturday against league-unbeaten Alabama.
Musselman used the same starting five that he employed against Georgia in a 30-point home win on Saturday — Moody, Connor Vanover, Davonte “Devo” Davis, Jalen Tate, and Vance Jackson, Jr.
Arkansas led 7-4 on two putbacks (Jackson and Moody) and a Vanover triple, but LSU began dominating every phase of the game in authoring a 40-6 run to take a 31-point lead, 44-13, at the 6:10 mark.
Notae scored 14 first-half points and keyed an 18-7 proof-of-life run for the Hogs as Arkansas closed within a 20-point deficit at the break, 51-31.