What a game! Arkansas comes away with a 97-85 victory on the road at Auburn.
Auburn was scorching hot all night as they made 15 threes on 29 attempts. Arkansas had the lead by 6 at halftime, but Auburn battled back to tie the game at 74 with 7:30 to play.
Arkansas then went on a 10-0 run and never looked back to cruise to the 12 point win.
Box Score Breakdown
Moses Moody had 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Desi Sills shot 8-15 to lead the team in scoring with 23 points. He added 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block.
Jalen Tate was very crafty driving to the basket and getting several runners to fall. He had 12 points and 4 assists.
Connor Vanover played a really good basketball game. Auburn put him in tough situations defensively and I thought he really did as good of a job as anyone could ask. He tallied 17 points and 5 rebounds.
The defense was not great tonight. Auburn shot lights out all night. Many were uncontested. This is something that must be shored up.
What is encouraging is how Arkansas won this game. You want to win as many ways as possible. Justin Smith turned his ankle in the 1st half and spent the 2nd half in a boot on the bench. With Auburn’s length and athleticism, I was certain they would go on to win the game.
The Hogs never quit though. They played a small lineup and was able to force several turnovers in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Where Eric Musselman pushed the right buttons tonight was with 6:55 to go. Jalen Tate picked up his 4th foul. Musselman elected to bring in freshman Devo Davis. Davis had played well throughout the game defending Auburn point guard and leading scorer, Justin Powell. Musselman kept Tate out and Davis in for nearly a 5 minute stretch. Devo was able to force turnovers, tip passes, and chase down loose balls. The biggest play came with 3:23 to play when he hit a pull jumper late in the shot clock to give the Hogs a 10-point lead.
What remains to be seen is the severity of Justin Smith’s injury. The play didn’t look to be a serious turn of the ankle, but he spent the 2nd half in a boot. So who knows? Arkansas cannot afford to play many games without him. Teams like Tennessee and LSU could give Arkansas fits without Justin Smith.
Tonight’s win for Arkansas was Eric Musselman’s 5th road win since becoming the Head Coach on the Hill. That 5th road win came in his 13th road game.
Here’s a look at how long it took other recent Arkansas head coaches to get their 5th road win.
Nolan Richardson got his 5th road win in his 19th road game.
Stan Heath got his 5th road win in his 32nd road game.
John Pelphrey got his 5th road win in his 24th road game.
Mike Anderson got his 5th road win in his 28th road game.
Eric Musselman got his 5th road win in his 13th road game.
Now that does not translate to long term success, but winning on the road is paramount if you are going to be a contender for the SEC. Musselman’s teams have proven to be able to do that so far in his tenure.
The Hogs welcome #12 Missouri to BWA on Saturday at 11am on CBS.
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