No. 14 Arkansas survives in last seconds against LSU
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas guard JD Notae made two free throws with 8.6 points left, LSU’s Xavier Pinson missed a final attempt at the rim as the clock expired as the No. 14 Razorbacks held off the Tigers 77-76 on Wednesday night.
Stanley Umude led Arkansas (24-6, 13-4 Southeastern Conference) with 23 points. The Razorbacks have won 14 of their last 15 games overall and nine in a row at home.
Notae, who entered as the SEC’s second-leading scorer averaging 19.1 points per game, had just 12 points, his lowest total since Dec. 1. But he had seven rebounds and five assists to go along with his winning free throws.
“JD, when he’s not scoring, he still comes up clutch,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “Two free throws obviously changes the game. Not a lot of guys can step up with that confidence when you’re not having a great offensive night.”
LSU (20-10, 8-9) had the lead on the possession before Notae’s chance at the free-throw line, but Pinson missed a 3-pointer and Eric Gaines missed a follow, giving the Razorbacks the ball. Mwani Wilkinson fouled Notae while going for a steal on the wing and Arkansas’ scoring leader made two at the line.
Pinson had 12 points on 5-of-21 shooting. He gave LSU the lead with 52 seconds left when he scored at the rim. Neither team led by more than seven points throughout the game.
Tari Eason led LSU with 24 points, but fouled out with 1:35 left.
Arkansas’ second leading scorer, Jaylin Williams, had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and also fouled out with 4:27 left.
The Razorbacks entered the game with a NET rating of No. 23 to LSU’s No. 16, something that drew the concern of Musselman after the game.
“I’m looking at this stuff, like a team wins and they drop. What is this?” Musselman said. “I’ll be real interested because their (LSU’s) NET’s real high. I’m not smart enough to figure it out. I mean, the last 15 games how are we playing? I hope that gets heavily considered as well as we get ready for Selection Sunday. I hope there’s some common sense.”
Arkansas: Kept alive its chances at a regular-season SEC title. The Razorbacks are a game behind conference leader Auburn.
LSU: Fell below .500 in conference play, but appear in good position for the NCAA Tournament.
Arkansas: At Tennessee on Saturday.
LSU: Hosts Alabama on Saturday.