NORMAN, Okla. — The University of Arkansas men’s basketball team could not climb out of an early hole against Oklahoma Saturday afternoon, falling 78-63 inside the Lloyd Noble Center. Arkansas drops to 5-3 with the loss, while Oklahoma improves to 7-1.
Freshman guard BJ Young led Arkansas offensively, tallying 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting and dishing out three assists.
Down 37-25 at the half, Arkansas showed a spark early in the second half. Young and freshman forward Devonta Abron combined for seven points to lead the Razorbacks on a 7-2 run and cut the Sooner lead to seven points, 39-32.
"The first five minutes of the second half we really got after them," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. "Devonta was a big part of that run in the second half."
Oklahoma responded with a 9-3 run of its own, extending the lead to 48-35 with 13:27 to play. Arkansas guard Madracus Wade hit a three-pointer to end that Sooner run and cut the lead to 48-38, but the Razorbacks could not get any closer than that for the rest of the game.
Freshman Hunter Mickelson led Arkansas with seven rebounds, and also blocked a career high four shots. Three of those blocks came on consecutive possessions in the first half.
Despite Mickelson’s invigorated defense, the Razorbacks were unable to translate five first half steals and five first half blocks into points on the offensive end. Oklahoma started the game shooting 9-for-10 from the field, and took a 16-5 lead less than seven minutes into the game. Arkansas’ defense began to stop the Sooner attack with more consistency, but could not cut the lead to less than 10 points for the remainder of the first half.
"On the road you have to shoot the ball well," Anderson said. "Coming in we knew they were playing well. I was disappointed with the way we came out."
Young used 3-of-7 shooting from three and 3-of-4 shooting from the free throw line to score his 24 points. The freshman scored in double figures for the seventh straight game, and also had three steals.
Sophomore guard Mardracus Wade scored 11 points including three three-pointers, and also had two steals. Junior guard Julysses Nobles had five points, five assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Rickey Scott was also in double figures with 10 points, including 8-of-10 shooting from the free throw line.
Junior Andrew Fitzgerald scored 17 points for Oklahoma, all of them coming in the first half. Junior Stephen Pledger led the Sooners with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
The Razorbacks return to action Saturday, Dec. 17 for a 2 p.m. home game inside Bud Walton Arena. For more information about Razorback basketball, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.