Courtesy Arkansas athletics
Try as he might, not even Jaylen Barford could save Arkansas on Wednesday.

Analysis: Arkansas basketball needs to reset after third straight loss, falling to LSU

Eric Bolin

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas has played some bad basketball recently. Nothing, though, has equaled the mess the Razorbacks showed Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

It was the ugliest and poorest-played game of Arkansas’ season, Wednesday’s 75-54 loss to LSU. Worse, even, than the embarrassment the Razorbacks suffered against Houston in nonconference play when they fell by 26 points.

Little of the most recent result had to do with LSU. Arkansas’ was textbook undisciplined, isolation, slow-footed basketball. Not occasional bouts of it. There was a measure of consistency to Arkansas’ poor play. The interruptions were the medicore instead of downright terrible possessions on both defense and offense. Worst part of it for Razorbacks faithful: Wednesday may have been the worst offender, but it has not been an isolated incident. Four games for Arkansas in the SEC and in a grand total of 165 minutes of league basketball, Mike Anderson’s team has looked like a high-quality team for maybe 10.

Twelve minutes into the first half, Arkansas was 3 of 22 from the field. Even worse, the defense was failing, too. LSU was shooting 65 percent. The crowd was livid. Dozens walked out at halftime, with Arkansas trailing 41-21, and didn’t bother returning to their seat.

Those who did may have sore throats in the morning. A consistent groan of boos emanated from the stands during the late first half and early second half. Arkansas’ bench, frustrated by both the officiating and its team’s play, picked up a technical foul before the first media timeout. During a timeout, referee Pat Adams apparently even had a fan removed from the arena.

Shortly thereafter, the Razorbacks decided to play passable hoops. Jaylen Barford, whoh finished with a team-high 17 points, went a little 5-0 run by himself. Arkansas cut LSU’s lead to just 12 with more than 10 minutes left. Time to further trim.

Instead, LSU countered with a 7-0 run over the next 1:03, precipatating an Anderson timeout and the second, this time more noticeable, exodus of bodies form the red-backed seats.

Arkansas finished the night shooting 33 percent. LSU shot 53 percent.

It was that kind of night all the way around. Forgettable. At least, if Anderson’s team wants to turn things around after a start to SEC play that could only be worse in the wildest of imaginations, they better forget it. Anderson’s old Mizzou team visits Saturday.

The highlight

Not a one. Not really. Qualifying an average basketball play or an average basketball performance as a ‘highlight’ is disingenuous.

The lowlight

Nearly all of it. Barford’s night was modest. Everyone else played poor basketball. Some games have redeeming value even in a loss. Wednesday was not one of them.

What’s next for Arkansas?

vs Missouri

Saturday, Jan. 13

5 p.m. CT