NEW ORLEANS, La. — Arkansas has needed players to step up all season, but in Thursday’s 85-56 first-round loss to LSU in the Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Louisiana Superdome, the Razorbacks had few players around to finish the game.
The Razorbacks, who ended the season 9-19, trailed 45-19 at the half, which was reminiscent of the 75-56 loss to LSU at Baton Rouge on Feb. 22 in which the Hogs were down 49-19 at the break.
Rashard Sullivan, Larry Satchell and Jonathon Modica fouled out, and Eric Ferguson was ejected following a technical, all in the second half. Ferguson, who finished with 0 points in 23 minutes, was ejected with 10:56 remaining in the game. Sullivan fouled out 33 seconds later. Modica was done two minutes after Sullivan, and Satchell headed for the bench at the 7:50 mark. By then, LSU had a 72-37 lead, which grew to 75-37 on a Darrel Mitchell layup with 6:45 to play.
“LSU beat us right from the start, they just shot the ball well,” UA head coach Stan Heath said. “I was very impressed with their shooting. It is sad because our team has been a first class team all season. Today’s game was not a true reflection of our program or of our season.”
Kendrick Davis, Wen Mukubu and Michael Jones hit some shots late to cute into the lead, but the closest Arkansas got was 83-56 on a David layup before Charlie Thompson’s layup at the buzzer resulted in the final margin.
The Tigers (20-9) shot 55.6 percent in the first half and 48.1 for the game. UA shot 26.7 percent in the first period and 32.4 for the game. LSU also made 10 three-pointers, including eight of 15 in the first half (.533), and outscored Arkansas 23-4 at the free throw line.
The Razorbacks had a 40-36 rebounding advantage, but turned the ball over 15 times and made just four of 11 free throws.
Freshmen Modica and Sullivan combined to score UA’s first 13 points, but after Modica’s putback with 5:11 left in the first half gave the Razorbacks their 13th point, Anthony Hudson made two free throws for LSU to give the Tigers a 38-13 lead.
Modica, who was named to the SEC and CollegeInsider.com all-freshman teams earlier this week, finished with 18 points on six of 12 shooting. He hit three of five three-pointers and added four rebounds. Davis was the only other Razorback in double figures with 13 points. Sullivan, who had seven rebounds, Jones and Mukubu finished with six each.
Collis Temple made five of 10 shots and led LSU with 18 points. Torris Bright had 17 and Ronald Dupree, who had a game-high 10 rebounds, had 14.