Probably the worst thing that could’ve happened for the sanity of Hog fans occured tonight, as Eric Musselman’s basketball team was dealt its first loss. The Hogs fell to Western Kentucky 86-79. Now 8-1, the honeymoon period is over, as the team will look to regroup before playing Tulsa next weekend.
For once, offense wasn’t the problem in this game, as several players had great scoring games. Desi Sills had a great night, going 7-11 and turning in 20 points. Isaiah Joe found some semblance of shooting form, turning in 5-14 from beyond the arc for an 18 point night. Jimmy Whitt Jr. contributed 17 in an 8-18 effort.
The game will be marred by some questionable late game antics, as both suspect calls from the stripes and a frustrating decision not to call timeout sent the game to overtime, when the Hogs could have and probably should have won it in regulation. I understand Musselman’s timeout philosophy, and have agreed with it for the most part this year, but in this case... just call a timeout. Sometimes common sense is better than philosophy.
Several NBA scouts were in the building to watch Charles Bassey, whose night was cut short by a nasty injury. Hopefully it’s not serious, as he’s a special talent to watch. When he was playing, he added 10 points and 6 rebounds to the Hilltopper cause. WKU guard Taveion Hollingsworth was probably the best player on the court tonight, as he submitted a stellar effort with 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
I would caution Razorback fans to look at this game in a vacuum. It’s very tempting to let the understandable frustration and anger of the football coaching search boil over into other sports, but let’s take a moment, center ourselves, and consider the facts: the team is off to an 8-1 start. This was a close loss to a good team on the road that we were capable of winning. Musselman is overall a good coach, though he made a mistake tonight. We have a top 5 recruiting class coming, and things haven’t looked this good for Arkansas basketball in a while. We weren’t going to go undefeated. That’s okay.
A coach will come for football, and we can deal with that then, but for now, we have to pick ourselves back up, dust off, and get ready to support the boys in the next game, which will be played against Tulsa next Saturday at 12:30pm CT.
It’s going to be okay. I’m mad as hell about football too. But it’s going to be okay. I promise.
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