BATON ROUGE, La. — Arkansas went cold down the stretch in the second half and LSU was able to pull away for a closer-than-it-sounds 65-52 Southeastern Conference victory over the Razorbacks on Saturday.
The loss drops Arkansas to 11-9 overall and 3-6 in the SEC while the Tigers are 16-4 and 6-3.
The game was tight most of the day until a 7-0 run by LSU gave the Tigers a 44-36 lead with 14:57 remaining. Matt Jones, who had a career day, scored on a layup and Ronnie Brewer a free throw to cut the deficit to 44-39. LSU answered to go up seven, but Brewer drained a three to get the Razorbacks within four. Jaime Lloreda, who had a huge day for the Tigers, made a free throw to put LSU ahead 47-42, but Jones scored on another layup. Brandon Bass answered for LSU, but Michael Jones hit a three and Jonathon Modica made a layup to tie the game at 49-49 with 6:45 remaining.
From there it was all LSU. The Tigers scored the next 16 points while the Razorbacks missed several opportunities to cut into the lead.
Darrel Mitchell made two free throws to give LSU a two-point lead and neither team scored for the next two minutes. Darnell Lazare made a bucket for the Tigers at the 4:47 mark and it was almost another two minutes before the next score – a free throw by Xavier Whipple with 3:03 remaining.
Meanwhile Michael Jones had a three-pointer go in and out and he missed another trey. Eric Ferguson missed two threes and Modica one.
By the time Arkansas scored again, LSU had scored 16 straight to go up 65-49. Charles Tatum’s three with five seconds left ended the run and accounted for the final margin after a 6:40 scoreless stretch for the Razorbacks.
The game was tied six times in the first half with Arkansas leading by as much as four, 23-19, before LSU settled for a 35-32 halftime lead on a dunk and a free throw by Bass and another free throw by Whipple.
Free throws were a key, although neither team shot well at the line. LSU was 18 of 31 while Arkansas was seven of 13. UA was just three of six in the second period while the Tigers were 12 of 20.
LSU shot 45.8 percent from the field for the game. After shooting 42.9 in the first half, the Hogs hit just 25.9 percent in the second period to finish at 34.5 for the game.
Lloreda had a double-double of 18 points and 17 rebounds. Mitchell, who was three of four on three-pointers, had 15 points and Bass, who was just five of 12 shooting, had 14.
Matt Jones had his first double-double for Arkansas with career highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds. He made seven of 11 shots, but the rest of the team was just 12 of 44, 27.3 percent.
Brewer had 13 points and six rebounds and Michael Jones had seven points, but he was just two of 10 from the floor while Modica was two of 11 for five points.
UA plays at Tennessee on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (central) in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.