Arkansas takes over late to upset No. 12 LSU, 65-58

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BATON ROUGE – Arkansas used a 17-2 run over the final 6:55 to upset No. 12 LSU, 65-58, Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU had built a 56-48 lead with 9:01 on a Tari Eason dunk off an Alex Fudge steal, but Arkansas continued to fight back scoring the next 10 points to take the lead at 58-56 with 3:31 to play on a 3-point shot by JD Notae.

After an Tigers timeout, the two teams missed shots and Alex Fudge took the ball and went up for a dunk to tie the game at 58-58 with 2:16 to play.

LSU forced a shot clock violation and had the ball as the clock ticked under 1:45 but Eric Gaines missed a contested shot and Arkansas had the ball with 1:25 to play. Jaylin Williams was able to get the ball open at the top of the key and buried a three-pointer to take the lead for good with 1:12 to play.

The Tigers turned the ball over on its next two possessions and was forced to foul. Arkansas missed the free throw and Stanley Umude got the rebound and laid the ball in to make it 63-58.

LSU falls to 15-2, 3-2 in the league while Arkansas is now 12-5 and 2-3.

Eric Gaines led LSU with 14 points with four assists and four steals. Alex Fudge had one of his best games off the bench with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and two treys, while Tari Eason had 13 points and three steals.

Arkansas was led by Notae with 19 points, while Au’DIese Toney had 12 points and Jaylin Williams had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

LSU shot just 38.2 percent for the game (21-of-55) and 8-of-25 in the second half. Arkansas finished at 41-8 percent (23-of-55).

It was the first time LSU lost when holding a team under 70 points and the loss ended LSU’s 13-game winning streak at home.

The Tigers forced 19 turnovers and recorded 14 steals while LSU had 16 turnovers. But Arkansas had the advantage in points off turnovers, 20-13, and 30-28 in points in the paint.

The game had seven lead changes and nine ties. The Razorbacks led for the 6:48 of the contest, including most of the final 3:31 of the contest.

LSU three times in the first half had a seven-point lead before Arkansas came back to take a 22-20 lead with 6:59 to play. The two teams swapped the advantage a couple of times before LSU took a 30-29 lead on a Gaines bucket and then after an Arkansas miss, Justice Williams scored to make it 32-29 LSU with 1:21 to go in the first half.

LSU would lead, 33-31, at the half.

LSU’s big advantage came after a Notae free throw cut the LSU lead to 50-48 with 10:57 to play.

Mwani Wilkinson hit two free throws for a 52-48 lead, Tari Eason made two freebies and Eason’s dunk put LSU up eight, setting the stage for the Arkansas rally.

LSU is on the road all next week, playing Wednesday at Alabama and then next Saturday at Tennessee. The Tigers return home on Wednesday, Jan. 26 to host Texas A&M.

LSU vs. Arkansas
January 22, 2022
LSU Head Coach Will Wade

Opening Statement…
“I mean look, Arkansas made a ton of plays down the stretch, (JD) Notae made some huge shots, closed the game on a 17-2 run. We turned the ball over too much, we got out-rebounded, we missed some free throws, that’s going to get you just about every time. We just weren’t as clean as we needed to be coming down the stretch. I probably should have used some of my timeouts to get (Darius) Days back in when they cut the lead to one, I should have used a timeout there, I’ll go back and look at all that. I should have helped our guys out a little bit more, but we just didn’t make plays we needed to down the stretch. We’ll get back after it and turn the page for a tough week on the road next week.”

On whether or not the team was affected by the absence of (Xavier) Pinson…
“We had some different lineups out there, and we got into some foul trouble. Look, we’ve got good players, we expect those guys to make plays, I thought (Alex) Fudge made some great plays today for us, I thought Fudge played really well for us, and we’ve got to execute better. They did some things defensively that were very smart, they took some things away, they picked (Eric) Gaines up full court which made it a lot tougher. We got into offense a lot later than we typically do, so you got to give Arkansas some credit, they did a nice job.”

On the Tiger defense in the final minutes…
“Well, we missed a switch and left Jaylin Williams wide open for three. He has four threes made all year, I think he was three-of-19 or three-of-16 coming in from three, so we missed a switch on that and left him open which can’t happen. Look, we made aggressive plays at the end of the game trying to go to the basket, and it just didn’t go our way. We’ve got to be cleaner and we’ve got to be better, we weren’t at our best today.”

Guard Eric Gaines
On Arkansas’ physicality…
“I am not going to say that was the toughest defensive team we have played this year. I would say they are more physical though. They came out and were ready to play. We just have to take another step. We cannot go back but we just need to take another step onto the next game.

On the offensive loss of rhythm…
“I take the blame on that. As a point guard I have to get my team set up and bring the ball up the court faster. I feel like I did not do that.”

Forward Alex Fudge
On his focus during the game…
“It is not hard. You have to tell your other teammates to pick it up. You have to keep a clear head and keep pushing. You have to stay in the game and that’s what I had to do.”

Interim Head Coach Keith Smart

On how it felt leading the team in place of Coach Musselman…
“Kudos goes to Coach (Eric) Musselman. I am not in this environment to coach in here if he did not offer me the opportunity to come here and grow as a college coach. You can coach as long as you can in the NBA, but this is a different environment; you are dealing with much younger players. So, for him trusting me to take the team out on the road to go play, but also in practice, that’s what he does with all his assistants. We all have the opportunity to be in control of a station, and I think that also prepares you for it. I have had opportunities to step in and coach. But as I said a couple of days ago, I told Coach Musselman that I have to coach how I coach, and that is always delicate because you are in between what you feel and what you already do but Musselman said just do what you need to do. All he cares about is getting a win out of it.”

On coming back late in the game to win…
“A good friend of mine with the New York Knicks is like a breathologist, and I have always used his technique on breathing. When I called the timeout, I just told those guys to breathe. Forget about what just happened and breathe, and that really helped. I think sharing with them that as bad as it is, when we were down eight points, we still have a lot of time, and it is a long game, and certain guys were going to make a big play or get a big rebound, and that came to fruition today.”

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