FAYETTEVILLE – Three Razorback men’s basketball players hit double figure point totals on Saturday to lead Arkansas to a 69-60 victory over LSU in Bud Walton Arena. Sophomore Mardracus Wade, freshman B.J. Young and junior Julysses Nobles, each had at least 14 points on the night with Young leading the way with 19. The performance by Young is his 13th double figure point game of the season and his third highest as well.
In front of a raucous crowd of 14,800, the most that Bud Walton Arena has seen since 2009, the Razorbacks, once again, played to an aggressive style and forced 16 LSU turnovers and tallied 12 steals. Wade had five of those steals on his own, bringing his season total to 27, which is already two more than he had all of last season. Freshman Devonta Abron had a huge game on the boards, pulling down 15 rebounds in the game, which is just one short of his career-high.
As a team, the Razorbacks had a great night from behind the three-point line and the charity stripe. The Hogs shot 9-of-18 from long range and in turn made the free ones, going 16-for-28.
"I’m really proud of our guys," head coach Mike Anderson said. "This game was pretty evenly matched, but I can’t say enough about our guys coming off a tough loss. Devonta Abron came up with big rebounds and Julysses Nobles second half was huge too. I thought our defense was great tonight and our guys did a good job of holding their composure. A lot of the credit tonight goes to our fans too. They were our sixth man out there."
After a somewhat slow first half, the Hog picked up the pace early in the second frame. LSU regained a one point lead in the first two minutes, but the Razorbacks then made their biggest run of the night with nine straight points. A mid-range jumper by freshman Rashad Madden was followed by some play in the paint by senior Michael Sanchez and Abron. Wade capped the run with another three ball and the Hogs had a 41-33 advantage with 15:43 to play in the game.
From there, Arkansas kept their distance from the Tigers, never letting them get closer than four points by the time the clock hit the midway point of the second half. After Justin Hamilton’s free throw brought LSU to a 43-39 deficit, Young sank a dagger of a three-pointer to bring the Hog lead back to seven.
On the next LSU possession, Hamilton went to the line again. After sinking the first free throw, the second fell of the mark and LSU had an opportunity for the put-back. Fortunately for the Razorbacks, the big men of Hunter Mickelson and Marvell Waithe blocked two consecutive shots and Nobles came out with the steal. Out of the fast break, Nobles found some open space and sank a big three-pointer to take the lead back to 49-40 with 10:14 to play, their largest lead of the half.
LSU did get it within four with just under seven minutes to play, but Arkansas responded well to score seven of the next 11 points and keep that lead to no less than five points. The Razorbacks ended the game on a 6-2 run with key free throws from Nobles, Mickelson and Young to give Arkansas its second conference win.
The first half was a back and forth battle that saw neither team get out to a huge lead. Five ties and six lead changes gave way to very selective scoring opportunities. However, the Hogs were able to take advantage of some key free throw shooting and forced turnovers to take a one point advantage at the break.
The Razorbacks forced 10 LSU turnovers in the first half and in turn scored six points off those turnovers. Wade tallied three steals in the first half and ended up with nine points to lead the Hogs before the intermission.
Also in the first half, the Razorbacks were able to get half of their points from behind the arc, going 5-for-12. Wade, alone, went 2-for-2 to help the home team get out to 30-29 lead at halftime. Wade, also, finished the first half as the team’s leading scorer with nine points. That total tied with Young, who also had nine.
Download: 11-12 Basketball Notes #17 – LSU.pdf