The LSU basketball team’s struggles continued Saturday night at Arkansas. The Tigers dropped their fifth straight game and seventh in the last eight in a 99-86 loss to the Razorbacks.
LSU (9-9, 1-6 SEC) stumbled out of the gates, opening the game 1-for-11 from the field and never fully recovering. The Tigers did pull within four points late in the first half, but Arkansas responded with a 6-0 run to get the deficit back in double digits.
Arkansas (15-4, 4-3) lit it up from downtown, finishing 8 of 16 from 3-point range. The Hogs did most of that damage in the first half, hitting 6 of 12 treys to build a 10-point halftime lead.
Razorbacks forward Moses Kingsley, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, was an unstoppable force with a season-high 24 points in 29 minutes on the floor. Kingsley was 10 of 17 from the field with seven rebounds.
LSU player of the game: Skylar Mays
Typically more facilitator than finisher, Mays demonstrated an offensive assertiveness that had not been on display before Saturday night. The freshman reached his career high by halftime with 14 points and finished with 22 to go along with six assists.
Mays even did some of his scoring in style:
LSU fans have asked me what to be optimistic about for hoops.
An answer: Skylar Mays. pic.twitter.com/AkcVZtd1Y2
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) January 22, 2017
Stat of the Game: 50 percent
LSU pulled off a rare basketball feat, shooting better from the field than it did from the free-throw line. The Tigers went 15 of 30 from the charity stripe and 32 of 62 (52 percent) from the field.
It seemed clear that LSU didn’t have the legs to succeed at the line thanks to Arkansas’ press, shooting 4 of 14 in second half.
And as mentioned above, 50 percent was also a key state for the Razorbacks, who were 8 of 16 from 3-point range.
Turning point: Opening tip
Arkansas never trailed, opening the game on a 15-4 run over the first 7 minutes as the Tigers biffed on 10 of their first 11 shots.
LSU put together a threat when a personal 5-0 run by Mays cut the margin to 32-28 late in the first half. But the Razorbacks countered with an immediate 6-0 run on three Dusty Hannahs free throws and a Moses Kingsley 3-pointer and stayed in control the rest of the way.
LSU mounted one final threat in the game’s waning moments to cut the Arkansas lead down to six with just under 3 minutes left, but could not get the stops to make things any closer as the Hogs finished on a 7-0 run.
Despite shooting a blistering 66 percent (20 of 30) from the field in the second half, the Tigers fell by double figures for the fifth time in SEC play.
What’s next for LSU basketball?
The Tigers return home to face No. 19 Florida (14-5, 5-2 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Wednesday night. The game will tip at 8 p.m. CST on SEC Network.