BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite double-digit efforts by junior Marshawn Powell and junior Mardracus Wade, the Arkansas basketball team (17-11, 8-7 SEC) was unable to complete a furious second half rally against the LSU Tigers (17-10, 8-7 SEC), falling 65-60. Arkansas was down by as much as 22 points in the first half and came within two of the Tigers’ lead in the closing moments.
“Its disappointing,” Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. “We were right there, fought back and gave ourselves a chance. We just dug ourselves a hole.”
Powell tallied a team-high 15 points and eight boards as Wade chipped in 15 points, four steals and two assists to lead the Razorbacks on the hardwood. Arkansas out-rebounded the Tigers 42-35 and the Razorback defense forced 18 Tiger turnovers. The Razorback defense also recorded six blocks with freshman Michael Qualls leading the way with a game-high three.
Arkansas started off slow against the Tigers, trailing 23-8 with 10:05 remaining in the first. Haydar gave the Razorbacks a spark with a three-point basket that was nothing but net. For a bit the basket seemed to ignite the Razorback offense as Arkansas began to close the gap 26-18 with help from Coty Clarke and Wade.
The Tigers would begin to pull away again to take a 22-point lead (45-23). The Razorbacks rallied, making quick work of the 1:30 remaining in the half as they went on a 9-0 run to close the half.
Leading the Razorbacks in the first was junior Kikko Haydar with eight points off perfect 3-of-3 shooting. Junior Mardracus Wade also chipped in seven points as freshman Michael Qualls contributed four rebounds to lead the Razorbacks in the first off the glass.
The Razorbacks hit their stride in the second half as they chiseled the lead down to single digits with a huge three-pointer by Wade. Qualls would come up big defensively with a steal and a dunk over the Tigers to close the gap to just seven, 49-42. Arkansas and LSU would battle from there Arkansas kept chipping away at the LSU lead. The Razorbacks came within two (62-60) after a forced turnover by Powell and a dunk off the breakaway by Qualls with 1:42 on the clock.
Arkansas would finish the game 0 for 4 from the field.
Arkansas returns to Bud Walton Arena to face the Kentucky Wildcats at 3 p.m. Saturday on CBS.