Thursday, January 11, 2018
By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - The change of venue that nearly always helps coach Mike Anderson’s Arkansas Razorbacks didn’t help them one bit Wednesday night.
An Arkansas first half that was even more dreadful than when the Razorbacks trailed Auburn by 17 at intermission in last Saturday’s 88-78 SEC loss at Auburn, doomed the Razorbacks Wednesday night at Walton Arena, as the Razorbacks trailed the LSU Tigers 41-21 at intermission en route to an embarrassing 75-54 SEC defeat, their first home loss of the season.
It marked Arkansas’ third consecutive SEC loss, dropping the Razorbacks to 11-5 overall and 1-3 in the SEC before hosting the Missouri Tigers in Saturday’s 5 p.m. SEC game at Walton.
The LSU Tigers of first-year coach Will Wade waltz out of Walton at 11-4 overall and 2-1 in the SEC.
They host SEC rival Alabama Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.
Other than Adrio Bailey hitting one of two free throws at 19:37 for the game’s first point, the Razorbacks never led.
They were down 19-5 at 12:30 and were fading fast.
They would trail as much as by 24 during a half when they hit just 6-of-33 from the field.
Anderson had stressed throughout the week the Hogs’ need to attack inside-out, but it seemed his players could jump start their team with jump shots.
Their jumpers didn’t reach ignition.
They hit but 1-of-11 attempted first-half treys and were shooting 2-for-11 and seldom looked for freshman big man Daniel Gafford while firing awry from outside.
The stunned crowd did the best it could to rally their Hogs, erupting when Jaylen Barford hit Arkansas’ lone first-half three upping Arkansas to a still huge 36-19 deficit with 3:20 left.
Twenty-nine seconds later, the crowd slumped back to their seats when Gafford was charged with his third foul.
If LSU could have hit first-half free throws, 8-of-13 dittoing Arkansas, the Tigers’ 20-point halftime margin would have been even bigger.
In the first half, the Tigers shot 15-of-27, including 3-of-9 treys from the field.
Other than Arkansas’ 6-2 edge in second-chance points, LSU whipped Arkansas in every first-half scoring stat.
Mostly behind Barford, Arkansas rallied in the second half, cutting a 21-point lead to 12 at 57-45 on a bucket by sophomore reserve guard C.J. Jones.
The Tigers dismissed that comeback bid with an 11-0 run to take a 66-43 edge with 7:09 remaining with Arkansas futile on both ends of the court.
For the game, Barford’s 10-point second half enabled him to lead all scorers with 17 points.
Big men Trey Thompson and Gafford were next for Arkansas with eight points each.
The victorious Tigers roared with balance.
Aaron Epps (13 points), Skylar Mays (12 points), reserve Randy Onwuasor (12 points) and Duop Reath (11 points) all were in double figures.
Freshman guard Tremont Waters, LSU’s scoring leader on the season, only scored eight Wednesday night, but was still was a huge factor, dealing eight assists and grabbing five rebounds to aid the Tigers' cause.
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