It was bound to happen sooner or later. Every year under coach Mike Anderson, the Arkansas basketball team has gone on the road in the nonconference season and completely struggled.
For this 2017-18 campaign, it came Saturday night. The Razorbacks lost to Houston 91-65 down in Texas. It’s Arkansas’ second loss of the season (5-2) and will be enough to keep the Hogs out of the Top 25 when the polls come out in the next 48 hours.
How it affects the Hogs long term is to be determined. Unlikely to be significantly damaging, though. Still, it was a game Anderson will tell his team to quickly put behind it.
Arkansas was flat from the word “go.” Houston started the game on an 11-0 run and took a 15-point lead into the break. It did all that without Rob Gray, who averages a team-high 23 points per game, scoring at all. The preseason All-American Athletic Conference player, Gray played just 7 minutes in the first half.
And the Razorbacks could take advantage. They shot just 32 percent from the field and committed 10 turnovers. Houston stretched its lead to as many as 20 points less than 5 minutes after the break.
Corey Davis Jr. was Houston’s best player for the first 25 minutes. A junior college transfer and newly inserted into the Cougars’ starting lineup, Davis went off for 17 points. A four-point play just before the under-12 timeout gave Houston a 22-point lead and served as the proverbial dagger.
Devin Davis took over down the stretch. He scored 15 points in the second half alone and led Houston with 28 points. The Davises were joined in double figures by Gray (11) and Armoni Brooks (11). Arkansas’ leading scorers were Jaylen Barford and Anton Beard with 13 points apiece.
The game was reminiscent of Arkansas’ game against Oklahoma State on the road last season. The Hogs lost that game 99-71. They ultimately made the NCAA Tournament before losing to North Carolina in the second round.
This team is a lot like that one.
… No one was badly hurt.
Most of it.
Daniel Gafford put himself in early foul trouble yet again. The 6-foot-10 freshman has done it every game but one this season.
Daryl Macon was completely silent. He had just 10 points and shot 3 of 10 from the floor.
What’s next for Arkansas?
vs Colorado State
Tuesday, Dec. 5
7 p.m. CT on SEC Network Plus