Lack of offense, turnovers, doom Arkansas in surprising loss to Bulldogs

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Arkansas wasn’t supposed to lose to Georgia on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena, but the combination of a lot of things — all bad — led to a 64-55 loss.

“We tried to do a few different things,” Mike Neighbors said later. “It certainly appeared like we tried the same thing over and over and over expecting a different result. I think Einstein said is the definition of insanity.”

The Bulldogs turned the Hogs over 20 times, a season-high for the Razorbacks, while also holding Arkansas to just three 3-pointers, a season-low.

“Maybe the first time this year I’ve been disappointed,” Neighbors said.

There were some warning signs that he apparently didn’t realize (or know about) until it was too late to do anything about it.

Chelsea Dungee, who had 13 points and seven rebounds but also five of the team’s 20 turnovers, said later the team just had a lack of energy the last few days.

“That’s on me,” Neighbors said. “She’s not the only one that said it. That goes to the thing I can do better, which is have a better pulse. I’d like to tell you I had seen it, but I didn’t.

“I thought we had a quiet confidence about us. We were getting on that borderline of having a bit of swagger and maybe that’s what I was attributing it to.”

It wasn’t hard to tell Neighbors wasn’t real happy, although he did a pretty good job of masking it.

“There was no reason not to have any energy,” he said.

Then he started just listing the things he found out. Neighbors wasn’t using any of it as an excuse, but it did point to a lack of focus for this game.

“We just came off a day off and I found out just a minute ago nobody came in to do any extra shooting for the first time all year,” he said. “We had pre-practice on Tuesday, which I just found out nobody showed up for for the first time all year.

“As a result, for the first time this year we’re disappointed.”

This loss is going to stick with Neighbors, although he may have gotten some of it out in a rare post-game talk, which may have involved some straight talk.

The guess here is there may be a more focused team by Sunday.

“I will make sure those things don’t beat us before the game — and I’m not telling you that’s the reason — I’m telling you it’s the first time it’s happened,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve talked to them — win or lose, home or away — that I’ve ever talked to the team following the game.

“I’m going to leave a little more encouraged. I can tell you if I hadn’t talked to them, I would have been not much fun to be around the rest of the night or tomorrow until I saw them again.”

With Florida coming up in a home game Sunday, Neighbors can’t let this game turn what a lot of fans expected to be two wins into the opposite.

“We’ve gotta take care of one of these two home games,” he said. “You can’t let two homes to people you’re picked around slip by and not regret it.”

Redshirt freshman Erynn Barnum was the Hogs’ leading scorer, matching her career-high with 14 points, shooting 50 percent from the field (6-12) and from three (1-2).

Dungee was the only other Hog to reach double-figures.

Gabby Connally led the way for Georgia, going for a game-high 18 points.

Turning point

The Hogs had a seven-point lead with 3:13 to play in the third quarter after a lay-in from sophomore guard Rokia Doumbia. Barnum went on a solo 7-0 run in just over a minute of clock time early in the third period, but the spark didn’t last long.

Georgia rolled from them on, though, closing the game on a 28-12 run over the end of the third and throughout the fourth period. That run included a 19-2 spurt that put the game just out of reach.

 Hogs highlights

• Barnum matched her career-high in points, going for 14.

• Dungee scored in double-figures for the ninth straight time.

• Senior guard Alexis Tolefree led the Hogs on the glass, pulling down seven rebounds.

• Doumbia recorded three steals, a new career-high.

 The Razorbacks will host Florida in a game is set to tip at 2 p.m. and will be streamable on SECN+.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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