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Clemson Tigers 70, Arkansas Razorbacks 65: Choke


Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

And so ends a terribly disappointing two-game road swing for the Razorbacks.

If we could excuse the loss to Iowa State as the unfortunate victim of an elite team playing a great game, even though Mike Anderson himself admitted Arkansas' defense was "soft", this loss to Clemson was completely self-inflicted. Fans won't be nearly as kind about this one.

We said the game against the Cyclones wasn't indicative of the team's road woes in previous seasons, but this one? Well, it wasn't indicative of previous seasons in that it's hard to remember the Hogs choking away six-point leads in the last minute anywhere, but for most of the game the team played lethargically enough to recall previous years.

For most of the second half, it looked like Arkansas would be able to put away Clemson in a tough, ugly road victory. The Razorbacks trailed by four at halftime after scoring just 25 points in the opening 20 minutes, but went on a run at the beginning of the second half to push the lead to as many as 8, and led by 7 with 9:30 left.

The Hogs still had a 6 point lead with a minute left following a pair of hard-earned baskets by Bobby Portis.

Then the team completely played four possessions like they've never played basketball before. Clemson hit a shot to cut the lead to four. On the ensuing in-bounds Rashad Madden tried to pass the ball back to Michael Qualls but it hit his shins and resulted in a jump ball on the floor. Arkansas had the possession arrow so they got a shot to redeem themselves. Under pressure, Anthlon Bell tried to pass the ball across the court to Madden but it was too soft and Clemson intercepted it easily and also easily scored immediately on a layup.

Arkansas still had the ball with a 2-point lead but turned it over on the next possession without even getting a shot off. Clemson scored on another layup. The Hogs had the ball with about 7 or 8 seconds to score to win and Madden couldn't get a shot off after dribbling among too many players. Arkansas then trailed throughout overtime.

It was bad basketball. Portis and Michael Qualls combined for 39 of the team's 65 points, but Arkansas was only able to get them four total shots in the last minute of regulation and all of overtime, and three of those were three point shots, including a desperation three by Qualls with 8 seconds left. The Hogs did a terrible job of getting their two best scorers shots when the game was on the line.

They obviously didn't get a ton of help throughout the game. Bell hit a three in overtime but only had five points in regulation. Alandise Harris scored six points and nobody else had more than four points off the bench. It was an awful night for Madden. The senior leader scored zero points and committed five turnovers. It was the first time Madden's gone scoreless since the road game at Missouri when he was a sophomore. Madden did have five assists, but the Hogs need him to score.

It was fun to be ranked for two weeks but that will likely be gone when the polls come out on Monday. Just a terribly disappointing effort all around. The Hogs don't get a chance to redeem themselves on the road until January when SEC play begins and the team travels to Georgia.

It's obviously way too soon to know exactly how this week will impact the team's postseason goals. Clemson had already lost at home to Rutgers and Winthrop, so this is most likely going to go down as a bad loss, something the Razorbacks can't afford much of this season.