I always say about close basketball games, particularly overtime games, you can point to any given play that didn't go your way, and argue the game would have turned out differently if said play hadn't happened or ended up differently.
There were plenty such plays in Arkansas' loss to Georgia. It's fair to say if the refs hadn't called the shot clock violation when replay clearly showed the ball hit the rim, Moses Kingsley might have been able to make a putback or draw a foul. Perhaps if Dusty Hannahs hadn't fallen down on his rebound or if the refs didn't call him for traveling, the Hogs would have had a better chance to win the game in regulation instead of giving Georgia a final chance. Maybe if Anton Beard had thrown a better in-bounds pass - or if someone other than the shortest player on the team had been assigned to throw it - the Razorbacks perhaps get the final score in regulation. Then you have Moses Kingsley's first half foul trouble or Dusty's lane violation and plenty of other plays that all fit the bill.
Plenty of fans - myself included - were frustrated early in the first half when Arkansas jumped out to a 14-6 lead in just over five minutes behind some hot shooting, only for Mike Anderson to take all of the starters out of the game for their customary first half rest. I understand this is, again, customary for Anderson's teams, but when the team is hot and in the middle of a run, maybe at least leave Hannahs or Bell in the game? Maybe shuffle the rotation a bit so there are still quality scoring options on the floor?
But despite all those things, the easiest way Arkansas probably could have won the game in regulation is if they'd just shot their normal percentage from the free throw line. The Hogs were just 12-20 in regulation for an even 60%. It was their worst performance from the stripe in conference play. Kingsley was the worst culprit, converting just three of nine attempts. He came into the game making 71%, so this was much worse than normal for him.
This season began with low expectations but has quickly turned into a season of frustrating missed opportunities. The players have clearly shown they've developed and are talented, but the team is now 1-3 in overtime games and also suffered three-point losses to Stanford (after leading in the 2nd half by 16) and Wake Forest, and last week's two-point loss to LSU. This season is so close to being pretty amazing, but by the tiniest of margins, it's anything but. I still think there are things to play for, but the Hogs are rapidly running out of time.
Arkansas' three-game SEC winning streak has turned into a three-game SEC losing streak. And if they intend on snapping it this week, they'll have to do it against league-leader Texas A&M. At least it's in Fayetteville this time. It's an opportunity.
Quick shoutouts to Dusty Hannahs for 24 points, six rebounds and a steal. Anton Beard set a new career high (RING THE BELL!) with 18 points - all in the second half and overtime. Kingsley sat nearly the entire first half with foul trouble but finished with a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds. Bell scored 8 points in the first half and looked like he was zoned in, but disappeared after halftime.
On to the next one.