Western Kentucky hands Hogs first loss

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Saturday, December 7, 2019
An Arkansas Razorbacks logo is shown on a basketball in this undated photo.
An Arkansas Razorbacks logo is shown on a basketball in this undated photo.

Western Kentucky 86, Arkansas 79 - Final (OT)

Western Kentucky guard Taveion Hollingsworth scored a game-high 23 points and dropped the Razorbacks from the ranks of the unbeaten in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday.

Hilltoppers guard Josh Anderson also scored 15 and Jared Savage added 14 as Western Kentucky overcame the loss of its star forward Charles Bassey to a leg injury in the second half.

Desi Sills led Arkansas with 20 points, Isaiah Joe scored 18 and Jimmy Whitt chipped in 17 in the loss. The 20 points are a career-high for Sills. Mason Jones finished with eight points on 1 of 9 shooting and 0 of 4 from deep.

The Razorbacks return to the floor next Saturday against Tulsa in Bud Walton Arena.

We'll have more from tonight's game a little bit later on WholeHogSports.com.

Western Kentucky 82, Arkansas 79 - 24.1 seconds left

After forcing a long 2 by Hollingsworth, Jalen Harris commits a turnover attempting to hit Mason Jones on the right wing. Jones was not paying attention. WKU ball with a chance to ice the game at the line.

Western Kentucky 80, Arkansas 78 - 1:16 left in OT

Taveion Hollingsworth finished a tough reverse layup in transition to give the Hilltoppers a three-point lead. Adrio Bailey then split a pair at the line on the other end to set the current score. Desi Sills was just helped off the floor by a team trainer after falling hard on his left side.

Arkansas 73, Western Kentucky 73 - End of regulation

Following the offensive foul by Isaiah Joe, Hilltoppers guard Jared Savage hit a corner 3 to tie the game, then Mason Jones could not get a last-second 3 to go at the end of regulation. Looked like there was contact on the release, but there was no whistle.

We're headed to overtime for the second time in as many road games.

Arkansas 73, Western Kentucky 70 - 31 seconds left

Isaiah Joe was just whistled for an offensive foul in the backcourt, giving the ball back to Western Kentucky. Razorbacks have to stiffen defensively to hold on.

Arkansas 70, Western Kentucky 66 - 45 seconds left

Desi Sills has a game-high 20 points and Isaiah Joe has 17 tonight.

Charles Bassey left the game with a nasty looking leg injury a few minutes ago. That was tough to see. The Razorbacks, though, are on the verge of a huge road win. Have to close the game out at the foul line now.

Western Kentucky 62, Arkansas 60 - 3:50 left

Charles Bassey's first bucket since 5:17 left in the first half gives Western Kentucky a one-score lead heading into the final four minutes. He has 10 points and six rebounds. WKU has been outscored by 10 points with him on the floor tonight.

Desi Sills has a game-high 15 points for the Razorbacks. Whitt and Joe each have 14. With the Hilltoppers settled into a zone, someone is going to need to knock down a big shot or get into the middle of the zone and make something happen there. Big few minutes coming up for Arkansas.

Arkansas 57, Western Kentucky 55 - 6:54 left

Isaiah Joe knocked down his fourth 3 of the night to snap Arkansas' scoring drought and Desi Sills has the last four points for the Razorbacks on a pair of free throws and a tough layup in the lane that he was fouled on.

He'll be at the line when play resumes.

Jimmy Whitt, Joe and Sills each have 14 points. Whitt also has 10 rebounds. It is his second double-double of the season.

Arkansas 50, Western Kentucky 49 - 10:55 left

The Razorbacks have not scored in roughly three minutes since taking a six-point lead on Desi Sills' second 3-pointer of the night.

Camron Justice got a layup to go plus the foul, then Jared Savage knocked down a long 2 to bring us to the current score. Justice leads the Hilltoppers with 12 points and Whitt has 14 for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas 44, Western Kentucky 39 - 15:21 left

The Razorbacks are currently on a 12-2 run and have taken their largest lead of the night following five straight points from Isaiah Joe. Prior to that run, Joe had six points on the night. His last bucket was a filthy step-back 3 from the right wing.

Jimmy Whitt is now up to 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting, and Arkansas is getting great minutes from Jalen Harris. He has six points, two assists and a steal that turned into a layup for him on the other end.

Great push from the Razorbacks since the break. Let's see if they can keep this up.

Western Kentucky 33, Arkansas 28 - Halftime

The Hilltoppers carry a five-point lead into the break. Arkansas gifted Western Kentucky a four-point play with under one minute to play in the first half. Jalen Harris fouled Jared Savage on a 3 from the right wing, he hit it then got the free throw to go, too.

Jimmy Whitt leads Arkansas with 12 points and seven rebounds. Isaiah Joe also has six points. No other Razorbacks player has more than four points. Someone else has to get going.

For Western Kentucky, Camron Justice and Josh Anderson each have seven points, and Charles Bassey has six points on 3 of 4 from the floor and four rebounds. Taveion Hollingsworth has five points, five rebounds and four assists. He's been solid.

Both teams are 3 of 11 from 3-point range.

Western Kentucky 29, Arkansas 26 - 1:07 left first half

The Razorbacks have not scored since Jimmy Whitt got a putback to go with 4:44 left in the half. Meanwhile, Hilltoppers forward Carson Williams has swatted away a pair of Arkansas layups at the rim. He's been impressive.

Arkansas 26, Western Kentucky 25 - 3:28 left first half

Jimmy Whitt has been phenomenal in this first half and Isaiah Joe seems to have found a bit of a rhythm from 3 as well.

Whitt, the Razorbacks' third leading scorer coming into this game, leads all scorers with 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting to go with six rebounds. He has six of Arkansas' nine points in its current 9-2 run.

Charles Bassey has six points and four rebounds tonight, but he is a minus-4 when on the floor tonight. Camron Justice leads the Hilltoppers with seven points. WKU shooting 39.3 percent and 2 of 10 from 3.

Western Kentucky 20, Arkansas 17 - 7:53 left first half

Three of the Hilltoppers' five points between media timeouts came at the foul line. Matt Horton, who had played in only four games coming into tonight, scored on the interior to give Western Kentucky a lift off the bench.

Jalen Harris found Jimmy Whitt under the rim for a nice score, and Isaiah Joe buried his first 3 of the night. Harris has had a nice game to this point.

The Hilltoppers are winning the rebounding battle 14-9 overall and 6-1 on the offensive end.

Western Kentucky 15, Arkansas 11 - 11:26 left first half

Arkansas is not off to a great start offensively, but Jalen Harris and Mason Jones provided scores between the media timeouts.

Harris knocked down his seventh 3-pointer of the season to snap Western Kentucky's run, and Jones hit a really tough turnaround jumper above the free throw line. Whitt continues to lead Arkansas with four points.

The Hilltoppers have scored eight of their 15 points in transition. The Razorbacks have to get back defensively. Hollingsworth has a team-high five and three assists. Bassey has four points and two rebounds.

Western Kentucky 11, Arkansas 6 - 14:47 left first half

The Razorbacks opened the night scoring six of the game's first eight points behind two mid-range buckets from Jimmy Whitt and a long 2 from Adrio Bailey. It's been all Hilltoppers since then.

Western Kentucky is currently on a 9-0 run over the last 2:45. Camron Justice added two baskets in transition, and Taveion Hollingsworth added a 3 from the top of the key. Charles Bassey had a dunk in the spurt, too. Hollingsworth already has three assists.

Arkansas is 0 for 3 from distance in the early going. Isaiah Joe missed his first attempt, which was wide open, and Sills and Bailey misfired as well.


Arkansas' starting lineup: Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones, Desi Sills, Jimmy Whitt and Adrio Bailey.

The Razorbacks knocked down seven 3s in their win at Georgia Tech on Nov. 25. I suspect Arkansas will have to at least match that mark to have a chance in its second road game of the season. Opponents are shooting 30.8 percent from 3-point range against Western Kentucky this season, which ranks 96th nationally. They are shooting a solid 51.6 percent on 2-point looks.

Joe is shooting 25.8 percent from distance in Arkansas' last three games. It would be huge if he could catch fire against the Hilltoppers. Jimmy Whitt has arguably been the Razorbacks' most consistent player this season. He could be a factor against the 1-3-1 zone Western Kentucky employs out of timeouts.

According to college basketball reporter Jon Rothstien, 14 NBA scouts are expected to be in attendance for the game.

Western Kentucky's starters: Camron Justice (6-3), Taveion Hollingsworth (6-2), Jared Savage (6-5), Carson Williams (6-5) and Charles Bassey (6-11).

The Hilltoppers enter tonight's game 6-3 overall and on a two-game losing streak. Western Kentucky, in the last week, has lost to then-No. 2 Louisville and at Wright State on Tuesday. It has also lost to Bowling Green on a neutral floor.

By the numbers, Western Kentucky is the best offensive team Arkansas will have played this season. The Hilltoppers are scoring 107.5 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom, and shooting 55.6 percent inside the arc and 36.1 percent beyond it. Bassey is coach Rick Stansbury's star, averaging 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds. He ranks in the top 100 nationally in offensive and defensive rebound rate, per KenPom.

Justice and Hollingsworth are solid guards as well. Justice is a 43 percent 3-point shooter on 51 attempts, and Hollingsworth is a capable scorer. He finished with 17 points and six assists in the teams' meeting last season.


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