OXFORD, Miss. — When Isaiah Joe starts hitting shots things usually work out pretty well at the end for Arkansas.
It happened in the second half Saturday against Ole Miss as the Fort Smith Northside sophomore overcame a sluggish first half for 26 points in the second half to pace a 76-72 SEC win.
“Isaiah was awesome tonight,” Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said on the SEC Network broadcast after the game.
Joe finished with 34 points on the night, most of it coming in the second half and some key shots at the end.
He hit 7-of-13 on 3-pointers and a perfect 5-of-5 at the free-throw line. He also had two steals, two blocks, four rebounds and two assists. Mason Jones (13) and Jimmy Whitt (11) also hit double figures.
“A huge, huge win,” Musselman said later. “Clutch free throws down the stretch, Isaiah’s free throws and then Jimmy Whitt’s free throws were huge. Really, that five-point swing was so so vital. The three-ball and then the defensive push off with Adrio (Bailey) going to the foul line.”
Arkansas had taken a 72-70 lead with 1:10 to play, 72-70, then it was Ole Miss’ turn after seeing an 11-point lead evaporate.
The Rebels tried a mid-range jumper that hit the backboard and they got another chance getting the rebound, then Joe stole the ball and from there it was a case of Arkansas hitting free throws.
The Hogs return home for a two-game stretch, starting with Vanderbilt on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.