Arkansas Basketball falls to Texas A&M in SEC opener

Arkansas Basketball

Rashad Madden defends Texas A&M’s Fabyon Harris (Photo Credit: Stuart Villanueva/AP)

Arkansas’ road game curse continued as they fell to Texas A&M, 69-53 in both opponents SEC opener Wednesday night.

The Razorbacks were cold, shooting only 36 percent (21-58) from the field and 21 percent (4-19) from behind the line. They just couldn’t get a shot to fall and never found their rhythm on offense.

Rashad Madden led the team with 12 points and was the only player to score in double figures. Coty Clarke added nine points, ten rebounds and four assists. Madden has been the only consistent player throughout the 14 games.

Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls struggled throughout the game. Portis shot 3-of-10 from the field and finished with only seven points and seven rebounds. Qualls was only 1-of-12 and finished with just two points.

Any game Qualls has only two points, Arkansas is going to lose. They rely on him to score double figures every game. Portis, a freshman, looked shaky in his first SEC game, hopefully that won’t happen again.

Arkansas failed to complete their tasks, which were mentioned in a previous article, in order to win SEC games.

First, they didn’t win on the road, obviously. No game they win at home, even if they beat Florida on Saturday and Kentucky on Tuesday, will mean anything until they prove that they can win on the road, somewhere other than Auburn (but a win at Auburn would be good).

The next task they failed was playing with intensity. Arkansas never set the tempo for the game, the Aggies did and that’s exactly why Arkansas lost. The defense didn’t bring intensity; they only forced 11 turnovers and had 4 steals. Not only did the defense not bring intensity, the offense didn’t either. Arkansas got to the free-throw line only 14 times, a sign of not playing aggressively.

As mentioned early, Arkansas failed to shoot well, which was another key factor in winning SEC games. They also failed their final task to rebound well. The Hogs were out-rebounded 42-38 and gave up 11 offensive boards.

Alandise Harris looked pretty good in the first half, especially on an authoritative left-handed dunk during an Arkansas run. But after the first half, he fell off and he missed some easy shots around the basket.

Texas A&M only shot 40 percent from the field, not fantastic by any means. But their defense stepped up and forced 14 turnovers and took Arkansas out of the game.

Aggies guard Jamal Jones, who was expected to sign with Arkansas last spring, put up 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. That just hurts if you’re a Razorback fan but that was exactly what Jones wanted to do against Arkansas.

One thing is for sure; Arkansas’ non-conference schedule does not help them. Teams like High Point and UTSA are not preparing them for SEC play. They need some more competition in the first half of their season.

Sure, Arkansas fans are disappointed because they thought this season would be different but it’s still the same ‘ole, same ‘ole and will be until the team does something about it.

Arkansas will welcome No. 10 Florida to Bud Walton Arena Saturday for a noon tip off. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN2.