It was an SEC Basketball Fever special between two teams struggling this season and in this one Texas A&M avenged an earlier loss to the Hogs by beating Arkansas 87-80 in Bud Walton Arena. The Hogs’ sixth loss in Bud Walton this season. Despite solid games from Daniel Gafford and Isaiah Joe, the Hogs trailed the entire second half, and while they were close for the majority, they didn’t get over that hump.
The Hogs got off to a quick 5-0 start and led for the majority of the first half. Led by a balanced scoring effort, the Hogs got a bucket from eight different players in the first 15 minutes and the Hogs had a 28-23 lead.
Then the well went dry. The Aggies responded with a 13-0 run that largely was built from the free throw line. Arkansas did respond with a 9-0 run of their own, seven of those points coming from Isaiah Joe gave the Hogs a brief lead before they went into halftime down 38-37. Joe’s run helped give him a team high 12 points at halftime. He would finish with 20 and Gafford led the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Offensive rebounding was a killer in this one. Arkansas uncharacteristically rebounded extremely well in their first matchup against the Aggies, in this one Texas A&M controlled the boards. In the first half A&M out rebounded the Hogs 21-11 and had a 12-2 advantage in second chance points. For the entire game that second chance points advantage was 16-11. It nullified a good job from the Razorbacks in forcing turnovers, who forced the Aggies into 18 turnovers in the game.
Arkansas was within striking distance for the entire second half but never could get over that hump to take the lead. They cut the lead to just one point on three separate occasions but never got that bucket to take the lead. Arkansas had the lead down to 67-64 with under five minutes to go but an 8-0 Aggie run put an end to hopes there. The Aggies hit 12 of their last 15 shots to put a bow on things.
Arkansas is looking at a likely date at an SEC Tournament game on Wednesday now, something that they had avoided for as long as it had existed. But a game there is the cherry on top of the sadness sundae that was this season, so it feels appropriate.