Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
Fayetteville, AK - Looking to finish the regular season strong, LSU traveled to Fayetteville to take on the 14th ranked
Razorbacks hoping to win their second in a row before their home season finale against Alabama on Saturday, but the Tigers would lose a heartbreaker as Arkansas pulled out a 77-76 victory.
LSU was up 76-74 with :52 seconds left, but the Tigers ended up missing their final three shot attempts allowing
the Razorbacks to score the final three points of the game from the free throw line to capture the win.
JD Notae sank both free throws with eight seconds remaining before Xavier Pinson's driving layup attempt fell short with one second left.
"Obviously extremely, extremely disappointed," Will Wade said. "I'm proud of our guys. We limited our turnovers, made our free throws and we did a really nice job on the offensive glass in particular. But we just weren't solid enough defensively down the stretch. You just can't do that if you're gonna win big games in tough environments."
The Hogs controlled the opening tip and took a quick 5-0 lead on a Jaylin Williams jumper and a JD Notae three pointer only 62 seconds into the contest.
LSU responded with four straight points as Darius Days and Xavier Pinson each banked in a layup to pull to within 5-4 at the 18:28 mark.
Over the next four minutes both teams would play even as Arkansas would cling to a 12-11 lead with 14:13 on the clock as the game paused for an officials timeout.
The Tigers continued to play well while blocking out the noise in Bud Walton Arena hanging in with the Hogs, trailing by one, 16-15 at the 12:14 mark.
Both teams would go ice cold over the next two minutes before Shareef O'Neil hit two free throws to give LSU their first lead of the game, 17-16 with 10:27 left in the half.
With the Razorbacks up 23-19, Tari Eason would score his first points of the game, sinking a three pointer to cut the lead
to one, 23-22 with 7:15 to go.
The contest turned into a see-saw battle as both teams continued to answer each other and play even as Arkansas held a 33-32 lead with 1:34 left in the first half at the officials timeout.
LSU regained the lead as Darius Days sank a huge three pointer to put the Bayou Bengals up 35-33 with 1:01 left.
Stanley Umude would hit a jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 35-35 at halftime.
Darius Days and Xavier Pinson both scored 10 points each to lead the Tigers at the half. Tari Eason added 5 points, Eric Gaines scored 4 points, and Reid, Murray and O'Neil all finished with a deuce each.
LSU finished the first half shooting 14-34 from the floor for 41% while Arkansas finished shooting 39%. The Tigers hit 3-14 from three point land for 21% and LSU outrebounded the Hogs in the first 20 minutes, 20-18.
The Tigers began the second half blazing hot going on a 7-0 run to take a 42-35 lead, causing the Hogs to call a timeout with 18:30 left on the clock.
As the game play slowed down, Arkansas went on a 6-0 run to pull to within 42-41 with 13:56 left as LSU missed their last six shots.
Jaylin Williams would bank in a layup to give the Hogs the lead back, 47-46 at the 11:38 mark as the Tigers fell into a slump only making one of their last ten shots.
The game returned to a see-saw battle as LSU answered scoring seven straight to regain the lead, 55-52 with 8:37 left in the contest.
LSU extended their lead to 67-63 with 4:27 left in the game as Darius Days sank two free throws before JD Notae answered with a pair of free throws at the 3:48 mark cutting the Tigers lead to 67-65.
Eric Gaines banked in a beautiful layup to give LSU a 71-67 lead before Stanley Umude sank a three pointer to cut the lead to one, 71-70 with 2:10 left.
Tari Eason drove into the paint to score and hit his free throw after being fouled to extend the LSU lead to 74-70 at the 1:47 mark.
Arkansas answered with four straight to tie the game at 74-74 with 1:13 left on the clock before Xavier Pinson drove to
the basket, sinking in a layup to put LSU up 76-74 with :52 second left in one of the best SEC games of the season.
Kamani Johnson would hit one of two free throw attempts to pull Arkansas to within one, 76-75.
Tari Eason led the team with 24 points before fouling out of the game late. Darius Days finished with 19 points while Xavier Pinson added 12 points in the losing effort.
With the loss LSU falls to 20-10 (8-9 SEC) while Arkansas improves to 24-6 (13-4 SEC)...
The Tigers will now return home to host Alabama in the regular season finale on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 11:00am CT and the game will be televised on CBS.
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