Over 15,000 were in North Little Rock to see Arkansas’ annual men’s basketball game in Simmons Bank Arena on Saturday night. The crowd saw a great game. The play was not always pretty, but it was a close contest throughout. There were 7 ties and 11 lead changes, but Arkansas prevailed.
Final score ... Arkansas 72, Valparaiso 68 ... Hogs erase late 8-pt deficit to improve to 10-1, they're best start since '16-17 ... Isaiah Joe @Isaiah_joe10 w/21 pts ... pic.twitter.com/LbxrJlUfGU— Kevin McPherson (@ARHoopScoop) December 22, 2019
If I read off these statistics, one would not think Arkansas walked away with the win:
- Outscored in the paint 32-16
- Commit 19 turnovers
- Miss 11 free throws
That is not a recipe for a win. Despite those abysmal numbers, the Razorbacks pulled out the win.
What Went Right
The Hogs went on a 21-9 run the final 7 minutes of the game. Mason Jones had some late game heroics as usual.
Bailey played a complete game. 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals.
What Went Wrong
Nineteen committed turnovers kept the offense from getting in to any sort of flow all night. I think it is safe to say that Coach Musselman was right when he said this team would struggle with turnovers. It has haunted the Hogs all year.
Points in the Paint
Arkansas was outscored 32-16 in the paint while giving up 9 offensive rebounds. Arkansas’ next opponent, Indiana, looks to score in the paint as much as any team in the country. The Hogs will have to be better.
Arkansas will take 3 days off for Christmas then prepare for another road test at Indiana. Most of the team will remember the NIT loss in Bloomington last year.
Around the SEC (December 15-21)
Alabama gets above .500 this week with easy wins over Samford and Belmont.
Bruce Pearl’s team stays undefeated after a nice win over North Carolina State and a blowout win over Lehigh.
Florida continues to be one of the most confusing teams in the nation. They have as much talent as anyone in the country. This week, they beat Providence by 32, but lose to Utah State by 3.
Georgia picked us a nice win over SMU at home, 87-85.
The Wildcats went 0-2 in neutral site games this week with losses to Utah and highly ranked Ohio State.
The Tigers picked up two wins this week. One over Southern Illinois and over rival Illinois.
Mississippi State (8-2)
The Bulldogs were in trouble most of the game against 3-6 Radford, but pulled away with the win late.
Ole Miss (8-3)
Ole Miss was given a scare by Southeastern Louisiana, but the Rebels pulled away with the win.
South Carolina (7-4)
South Carolina got a great win on the road over in-state rival Clemson, 67-54.
Tennessee lost on Wednesday at Cincinnati, but bounced back with a blowout win over Jacksonville State.
Texas A&M (5-5)
The Aggies got back to .500 with a close win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a nice win over Oregon State.
Vanderbilt went 1-1 this week with a win over UNC-Wilmington and a loss to Loyola-Chicago.
Like many in our state, I didn’t have a choice in who my favorite team would be growing up. I was raised on Razorback. I remember watching the early season games on ARSN or conference games on JP Sports. My first favorite players were Brandon Dean and Joe Johnson. Great memories. I never thought years ago I would be writing about Arkansas Basketball. I don’t have a journalism background or anything like that. When given the opportunity, I wanted to challenge myself with something new and it has been a blast!