FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback men’s basketball team had three players score points in double figures on Saturday afternoon, but allowed the Rebels to shoot 44 percent from the field and dropped their second straight game at Bud Walton Arena, 69-60.
Arkansas (14-8, 4-5) got to the free throw line early and often, shooting 21-for-30 behind the line for the game which kept them close throughout, but rebounding proved to be an achilles’ heel as Ole Miss (15-8, 3-5) dominated the boards 40-31, with 14 coming on the offensive end.
“Obviously we felt like we struggled to score in both halves,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “(Reginald) Buckner was outstanding. He had a big impact on the game. We had good stretches with the defense, but didn’t play well enough in the last six minutes to win the game.”
The Razorbacks did not have their best performance in the opening minutes of the first half as Ole Miss started the game on a 7-0 run, scoring on their first three of four shots. The Hogs did finally get on the board after a floater from junior Rotnei Clarke, but the Rebels had strong control of the first half going up by as much as 12 in the first eight minutes of play. Ole Miss seemed to shoot lights out by the midway point of the first half, going 7-for-16 from the field.
Even after falling behind by a large number early, the Hogs did not let the lead stay in double digits for long. A three point trey by Clarke and a drive-in layup from sophomore Julysses Nobles quickly cut the lead to five in a matter of seconds. After trading points for a couple of possessions, a fast break layup by senior Marcus Britt followed by another layup from Nobles got the Ole Miss lead to only one with nine minutes to play. Off the bench, Nobles was an absolute spark plug for the team, scoring six points and dishing out two assists.
Throughout the entire first half, it seemed as soon as the Hogs had momentum, the Rebels would take it back to keep their lead above five or more, getting scoring from a variety of sources. However, much of what kept the Razorbacks in the game during the first half was their free throw shooting. From behind the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes, Arkansas shot 8-for-8. For the remainder of the half, Ole Miss worked a tough inside game to hold on to the lead into halftime, 31-27 Rebels at the break.
It wasn’t the best shooting half from the Razorbacks this season as they only went 9-for-25 as a team. Sophomore Marshawn Powell led all Razorbacks in the point category with eight points. Senior Delvon Johnson led all Hog rebounders with five boards along with four points and two blocks. In all but one game this season, Johnson has had at least one block.
The second half started much like the play of the first half as both the Rebels and Hogs traded buckets for the opening four minutes. Arkansas did tie and take their first lead of the game after consecutive layups by Nobles and freshman Mardracus Wade as the clock hit the 14:30 mark, making the score 38-36.
The two teams bounced the lead back and forth for the next three minutes as the game became tied four times, but the Rebels took the final lead of the day at the 11:20 point after a crazy set of events that ended up with a technical foul called on junior Michael Sanchez and two made free throws from Chris Warren for Ole Miss. A regular foul would be called on Warren during the play, but Sanchez could not deliver from the line. Those free throws from Warren gave Ole Miss a much needed momentum boost as they took the lead for good in the final 10 minutes of play.
A 15-3 run over the next four minutes became the ultimate dagger as the Rebels jumped out to a 12 point lead and nearly kept it above doubles digits for the rest of the game. Warren was a major factor in the second half for Ole Miss as he scored 15 of 19 points in the second half alone and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the entire game.
From the field, Arkansas shot the exact same percentage from the field in the first half that they did in the second half (36.0%) and continued to struggle from behind the three-point line (30.0%). Marshawn Powell led all Razorbacks in the point category with 19 and four rebounds. Julysses Nobles followed up with 14 points off the bench, while Rotnei Clarke rounded out the double-digit efforts with 10 points and was 2-for-5 from the three-point line.
The men’s basketball team will return to the court on Feb. 9 when they travel to Starkville, Miss. to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. That game will be televised by the SEC Network and also streamed online at ESPN3.com. The tip is set for 7 p.m. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.