Despite getting blown out on the boards, Arkansas somehow found itself in the last few seconds with a shot to win a game on the road at LSU on Wednesday night.
But the last dozen seconds saw the big effort come up short, giving up an old-fashioned 3-point play and the Tigers came away with a 79-77 win at the Pete Maravich Center.
When Adrio Bailey swatted Skylar Mays’ layup out of bounds with 12 seconds left and the Razorbacks holding a thin 77-76 lead, things were looking up.
That lasted four seconds.
Jimmy Whitt, Jr., fouled the Tigers’ Trendon Watfer on a short jumper, he hit the and-1 free throw. The Hogs came down the floor and Isaiah Joe’s jumper was blocked at the buzzer, Desi Sills grabbed it and wasn’t able to get off much of a shot.
Arkansas coach Eric Musselman has said all season he didn’t expect to win many offensive rebounding battles, but he probably didn’t think they would be like Wednesday night. LSU dominated that area, 23-3.
As usual, the only way the Hogs stayed in the game was forcing turnovers and they won that area, 13-7. They were out-rebounded on the defensive side, too, 30-21.
“To think that a team could beat you on the glass, 26-0 in second-chance points, and you still have a chance to win the game is absolutely unheard of,” Hogs coach Eric Musselman said later.
That’s not a good combination, yet the Razorbacks found a way to stay in the game behind Mason Jones’ 24 points and another 22 by Whitt.
At the end, though, Jones was on the bench, fouling out with 32 seconds left.
The game had settled into the usual Arkansas-LSU game after the Hogs saw an 11-point lead in the first half slip away. That was the largest lead of the game. The Tigers’ biggest lead was 54-47.
The story of the game was rebounding and Mussleman said the Tigers just took it.
“It was strictly them going and getting it off the glass and them getting free-throw attempts. That’s what won the game for them,” he said.
The loss evened Arkansas’ record in SEC play at 1-1 and dropped them to 12-2 overall. They will stay on the road, going to Ole Miss on Saturday.