Arkansas Basketball: Nothing good

Arkansas Basketball

Bobby Portis and Coty Clarke double team Johnny O’Bryant (Photo Credit: Hilary Scheinuk/; Times-Picayune)

Arkansas fell to 2-6 in SEC play (13-8 overall) after an 88-74 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge Saturday.

Absolutely nothing good came of this game. It was a road game but not only that; Arkansas was playing without Michael Qualls and Alandise Harris. Qualls and Harris did not make the trip and have been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

The first half was arguably one of the worst halves the Razorbacks have played this season. It was hard to watch. The second half against Texas A&M may have been the only other half that was worse simply because they were playing with Qualls and Harris.

LSU’s big men were dominating Arkansas in the paint and there was nothing the Hogs could do to stop them. Junior forward Johnny O’Bryant III and freshman forward Jordan Mickey destroyed Arkansas inside. O’Bryant had 12 points and four rebounds in the first half and finished the game with 23 points and nine rebounds. Mickey finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

The Tigers outscored Arkansas 48-24 in points in the paint and out-rebounded Arkansas 45-33. They also picked up nine blocks. LSU’s frontcourt could not be stopped.

Arkansas was in a funk the entire game. They shot 32.8 percent (21 of 64) from the field and 26.9 percent (7 of 26) from behind the arc. It wasn’t pretty. Arkansas’ shot selection was bad and they settled for whatever they could get.

But, the Hogs didn’t quit and they showed some fight in the second half. They made some runs in the second half and cut LSU’s lead to seven with five-and-a-half minutes left in the game but in no time at all, the Tigers pulled away to win by 14.

Despite a poor shooting performance, four Arkansas players scored in double figures. Rashad Madden led the way with 17 points. Bobby Portis and Kikko Haydar added 15 points and Coty Clarke finished with 10 points.

Haydar’s 15 points were a career-high, all of which came in the second half. Mardracus Wade added five points. Jacorey Williams and Anthlon Bell each added two points.

The one positive that can possibly be taken from this game was Arkansas’ performance at the free throw line. They shot 92.6 percent (25 of 27) but it wasn’t enough to make a difference. If they could have shot free throws this well in previous games, they might have a few more SEC wins under their belt.

There’s not much to say. It’s becoming the same story, different day. Except this season Arkansas has already lost two SEC games at home, which is unusual. Arkansas fans are getting frustrated (especially after the horrible football season) but they have to remain loyal. Building a program takes time, it doesn’t happen over night.

Arkansas will face Alabama Wednesday night in Bud Walton Arena. It is still unknown if Qualls and Harris will be available for the game.