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Men’s Hoops Comes Up Short in Arkansas

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Tigers swept in the season series with the Razorbacks

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The LSU men’s basketball team fought valiantly in a hostile environment but the Tigers (20-10, 8-9) ultimately came up short against a red hot Arkansas Razorbacks team (24-6, 13-4) 77-76.

Wednesday was a tightly fought game that was unfortunately marred by officiating. A total of 40 fouls were called, 25 on LSU and 15 on Arkansas. Tari Eason, MWani Wilkinson, and Arkansas’s Jaylin Williams all fouled out; Efton Reid and Xavier Pinson also had four fouls, just for good measure.

LSU came into Wednesday in desperate need of a big win with tournament play looming and almost got it. But embarrassingly bad calls like the clip below and poor shooting from Xaiver Pinson and Brandon Murray (7-32, 0-12 from three) prevented that.

Wednesday was about as back and forth as it gets. Neither team led by double digits—LSU’s largest lead was seven while Arkansas’s was five—and there were eight lead changes. But Arkansas got the eighth and final lead change thanks to a pair of free throws by JD Notae.

“I think we’re playing closer to our potential, closer to how we were playing at the beginning of the year,” Will Wade said. “That’s why it was so disappointing to not get the result we wanted to spring us forward. Hopefully we’re rounding the corner as we move into March.”

Tari Eason was the best player on the floor before fouling out, leading all players with 24 points and seven rebounds. Eason was also a perfect 10-10 at the free throw line.

Good Darius Days blessed LSU with his presence going for 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Hopefully this Days is the one LSU will get for the duration of March.

What kept LSU in the rematch with Arkansas was its free throw shooting and rebounding. LSU was 18-19 at the line and had a +9 advantage rebounding (43 to 34) highlighted by 22 offensive rebounds. Those are the elements teams need to make deep runs in the tournament, hopefully LSU can recreate both of these performances in the weeks to come.

Up next for LSU is the regular season finale which will be at home versus No. 25 Alabama. Tipoff is set for 11:00 A.M. and the game will be carried on CBS.