Arkansas Basketball: Just short of another road victory

Arkansas Basketball

Mardracus Wade and Coty Clarke trap Jabari Brown (Photo Credit: L.G. Patterson/AP)

Arkansas fell one point shy of picking up their second straight road victory after an 86-85 loss to Missouri Thursday night.

Missouri led by eight with just 3 and a half minutes left but Arkansas scored 10 straight points in a little over two minutes and in no time at all the Hogs led by two with just 1:17 left to play.

It looked as though Arkansas was going to win back-to-back home games, in the first time in forever, but then things went bad (of course).

Jordan Clarkson went one of two at the free throw line with just one minute remaining to cut Arkansas’ lead to one. Arkansas went down to the other end and didn’t get a shot off due to a turnover by Rashad Madden. It was a terrible possession, it didn’t look good from the start and Missouri got the ball back and scored on a drive by Jabari Brown.

Arkansas still had time to win the game but Madden drove the lane and just missed the shot. Just like that the game is over and Arkansas still has only one road win on the season.

Of course, the game was disappointing, but it definitely showed that Arkansas is turning the corner. The Hogs came to win, no doubt. They looked like a completely different team than the Arkansas road team fans are used to seeing.

If only Arkansas would have played like this on the road against Texas A&M, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU; they would have more than one road win. But, this team has had chances to win many games and have blown the opportunity to do so multiple times.

Arkansas did some good things in this game. Arkansas shot 42.6 percent and scored 85 points in a road game. Five Hogs that scored in double figures: Madden (17 points), Alandise Harris (16 points), Bobby Portis (15 points), Coty Clarke (12 points), and Michael Qualls (10 points). They also forced 13 turnovers and had five steals.

But, free throws changed the game completely. Missouri was an astounding 89.5 percent (34-of-38) from the line, while Arkansas shot 78.4 percent (29-of-37). There were 50 fouls called in the game (25 on each team), maybe a little too many but at least they were even. The refs and their foul calling seemed to take away from the flow of the game, not really allowing either team to get in a rhythm.

The Hogs have seven games left. Of course, a 7-0 finish would be best-case scenario, but if they can go 6-1 throughout these last seven games, which is very doable, that would be great. By going 7-0 or 6-1, Arkansas will either be one of the last teams into the NCAA Tournament or will be a high seed in the NIT.

At this point, any postseason bid should make Arkansas fans happy.

Arkansas will take on LSU Saturday in Bud Walton Arena. The 1994 National Championship team will be honored at the game and former President Bill Clinton will be attendance. It should be an exciting day for Arkansas basketball fans.