As far as a “must-win game” goes with over a third of the regular season left to play, today’s game against Ole Miss would’ve certainly qualified. Tied with a 1-5 SEC record, Ole Miss and Arkansas were fighting to stay out of the proverbial SEC cellar, and even with the type of talent Arkansas has, they cannot afford to be at the bottom this far into the season.
Both teams came out with a lot of energy, hoping to get another win under their belt. At the 14:29 mark, Ole Miss went on a quick 8-0 run in just 54 seconds, growing their lead to 5. A three-point shot by Devo Davis ended the run and Ole Miss’largest lead of the night. Joseph Pinion’s two-point jumper with 2:55 pushed the Hogs into the lead for the rest of the half andextended the lead with back-to-back 3-point baskets.
From the tipoff, something seemed to be different, especially ondefense. The Hogs played aggressively but cleanly throughout the first half, only coughing up the ball a few times and keeping Ole Miss out of the bonus until three quick fouls at the 6:55 mark. The spark from Joseph Pinion at the end was a great confidence boostfor the team going into the half. Hogs up 32-29.
The second half started much slower. Excluding a layup by Ricky Council IV in the first 10 seconds, neither offense really got going until the 17:29 mark with a layup from Ole Miss’Robert Allen. After that, it was mainly all Hogs.
Arkansas grew their lead to 9 points and then went on a 20-8 run to extend it to 21. Ole Miss battled back, knocking down three straight 3-point baskets with 4:52 left in the game, two by Daeshun Ruffin and the third by Tye Fagan. Ole Miss then blocked a layup by Anthony Black and dunked it in transition, closing the gap to 11.
This brought up flashbacks from Arkansas’s last two games. The Hogs led by double digits, in both games, in the second half, but inevitably lost both. Coach Musselman, however, took an uncharacteristic timeout, regrouped his team, and finished the game and finished with an exclamation point by Black.
Ended it on a FLY note pic.twitter.com/E2yNAAbxzI— Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) January 21, 2023
The Hogs win 69-57.
Arkansas shot 46% (26-57) from the field and 40% (8-20) from three. With three 3-point buckets each, Devo Davis and Joseph Pinion might be growing into the 3-point threat that the Hogs have been missing. Arkansas recorded 14 assists to 11 turnoversand struggled a bit from the free throw line, knocking down just 53% of their shots.
Ole Miss was held to 44% (23-52) and 38% (5-13) from 3-point range. The Hogs forced 17 turnovers, stole 12 of them, and produced 15 points off of turnovers. Arkansas won the rebounding battle, but just barely with 31 boards.
Black led the team in scoring with 17 points, followed closely by Devo Davis with 16. Jordan Walsh was the team leader in rebounds with 7. Makhel Mitchell and, surprisingly, Joseph Pinion tied for second with 5 a piece. Black led the team in assists by a mile with 8.
Arkansas will be out for revenge on January 24th as the LSU Tigers head to Bud Walton. The Hogs dropped a close one on the road to LSU less than a month ago. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm CST.