NCAA Basketball

No. 20 Arkansas goes for ninth-straight SEC victory vs. LSU

No. 20 Arkansas is coming off its most impressive performance of the season.

LSU is coming off perhaps its worst as the two SEC rivals prepare to meet Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville, Ark.

The host Razorbacks (18-5, 10-4) used a second-half surge to rout No. 6 Alabama 81-66 on Wednesday night. It was the eighth consecutive conference victory for Arkansas; the Razorbacks won nine straight SEC games in 1994.

Additionally, the Razorbacks, who had been humbled in a 90-59 loss to the Crimson Tide on Jan. 16 in Tuscaloosa, prevented Alabama from clinching an outright SEC regular-season championship.

"We knew what we had to do," said freshman Jaylin Williams, who had a season-high 13 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench for Arkansas. "We knew we had to come in here with some energy, couldn't get down early because they're such a streaky team. They can get hot and make a run, and we just didn't want to give them that.

"We had to show them we're a different ball team than we were in the (first meeting)."

Alabama had a 45-39 lead early in the second half before Williams, who had all of his rebounds in the second half, scored eight points in a 2 1/2-minute stretch in which the game turned.

"Great job," Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said of Williams' performance. "He's a great player. He's not a good player. He keeps getting better."

Moses Moody led Arkansas with a game-high 24 points, making 16 of 19 free throws. The Razorbacks shot 43 free throws compared to eight for the Tide and enjoyed a 24-point advantage at the line.

LSU, which defeated Arkansas 92-76 on Jan. 13 in Baton Rouge, La., saw its three-game winning streak end with a 91-78 loss at Georgia on Tuesday night.

The Tigers (14-7, 9-5) entered the game tied with Arkansas for second place in the SEC.

"It was an embarrassing performance," LSU coach Will Wade said. "We got whipped every way we could get whipped. All of our poor habits came out."

The Bulldogs took control by outscoring the Tigers 21-6 during the final 5:46 of the first half to take a 45-29 halftime lead.

"Their guys played great," Wade said. "They were more prepared, and they played with great spirit and they played with great energy. They were more physical; they beat us to loose balls. I feel bad for everybody who follows our program. It was laughable, our effort, and it starts with me."

Cameron Thomas scored 21 points, Javonte Smart had 19, Trendon Watford added 13 and Jalen Cook 11 to lead LSU, which scored 14 fewer points than it had averaged during its winning streak.

LSU had scored its most points in an SEC regulation game in 30 years when it defeated Auburn 104-80 last Saturday.

But the offense experienced a significant drop-off against Georgia, the Tigers were outrebounded 47-40 and they allowed more than 90 points to the Bulldogs for the second time this season.

"Just an all-systems breakdown," Wade said. "As disappointing a night, as bad a night, as we've had."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 25, 2021

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2022 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFORM is strictly prohibited.