Arkansas had an 18 point lead, blew an 18 point lead, went back and forth in the final minutes without some key pieces and somehow won 90-89 at No. 19 LSU. With Daniel Gafford and Jalen Harris fouled out, Mason Jones forced a turnover and hit the game winning bucket with under 30 seconds to go. Arkansas dodged some bullets in the final 10 seconds to escape.
Despite fouling out, Gafford led all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds. Isaiah Joe had 18 and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson finished with 16.
It was a fast and furious first half, especially for the Hogs who got off to a fast start for the first time in what feels like forever. An early 13-0 run gave the Hogs a 20-11 lead, led by two threes from Embery-Simpson. Gafford hit a couple shots in that run as well to set a tone inside for him.
The Tigers responded but Arkansas never relinquished the lead in the first half. The Tigers did briefly tie the game at 34 all, but Arkansas closed the half strong to go into halftime leading 45-41.
A 10-0 run in the second half gave the Hogs their largest lead of the night at 18. Adrio Bailey hit just his second three pointer as a Hog during it and Reggie Chaney put a Tiger on a poster. It seemed like one of those nights where all the shots were going the Hogs’ way. They finished the game shooting 13/24 from deep.
Even when LSU was pushing with a press and getting a generous amount of whistles (or lack of) Arkansas hit threes to keep the Tigers at bay. LSU had two separate 7-0 runs but they were offset by some cold blooded three’s from Joe.
Turnovers were a bugaboo for the Hogs in the second half and it kept the Tigers in the game. After having just four turnovers in their previous game, Arkansas finished with 16 and LSU took advantage.
Arkansas then had to go into crunch time without Jalen Harris due to him fouling out. Gafford and Gabe Osabuohien also fouled out for the Hogs. The total fouls ended Arkansas committing 29 and LSU with 18. A totally normal differential for a college basketball game.
Its a huge upset for the Hogs, who gave LSU their first SEC loss. While Arkansas is still a ways a way from reasonable NCAA Tournament talk, this was a big win for NIT possibilities. Arkansas is back up to 4-4 in SEC play and 13-8 overall. After a rough stretch against some of the SEC’s best, the Hogs have rebounded well and put themselves in a good position to exceed preseason expectations.