Razorbacks upset No. 12 LSU on the road

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Saturday, January 15, 2022
Arkansas guard JD Notae (1) goes to the basket over LSU guard Brandon Murray (0) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Arkansas guard JD Notae (1) goes to the basket over LSU guard Brandon Murray (0) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Without its head coach and a starter from its most recent game, Arkansas took down the No. 12 team in college basketball Saturday. 

Jaylin Williams hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:11 remaining to cap an impressive all-around second half, and the Razorbacks beat LSU 65-58 at the Maravich Assembly Center. The Tigers (15-2, 3-2 SEC) lost at home for the first time this season.

Arkansas (12-5, 2-3) won its first road game and beat a ranked team for the first time this season, and did so without its head coach, Eric Musselman, who underwent shoulder surgery two days earlier. 

The Razorbacks closed the game on a 17-2 run after LSU took a 56-48 lead on Tari Eason’s driving slam dunk with 9:01 remaining. 

Arkansas answered with a 10-0 run and took its first lead of the half when JD Notae hit a three-pointer with 3:31 to play. 

"I called a timeout and I just told those guys to breathe. 'Forget about what just happened and breathe, because I need you to get some clarity in your mind right now,' and that really helped," Arkansas interim head coach Keith Smart said.

"I shared with them, ‘Hey, look guys, as bad as it is, guess what? We’re down eight points, but we’ve got six minutes to go....We’ve got a lot of time. This is a long game.' I said certain guys are going to make a big play, certain guys are going to get a big rebound, and that came to fruition."

More from WholeHogSports: Keith Smart postgame press conference | Photos from Arkansas' win at LSU

LSU tied the game at 58-58 on Alex Fudge’s dunk with 2:16 left. The Razorbacks committed a shot clock violation on the ensuing possession, but regained the ball when Alex Gaines missed a layup. That set up Williams’ three-pointer to put Arkansas ahead 61-58.

"I saw my opportunity, took the three and it just felt good," said Williams, who was 3 of 16 from three-point range prior to Saturday. "My teammates believed in me to take the shot, so I just took it."

Stanley Umude followed a missed Notae free throw with 22 seconds left and Au’Diese Toney hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to seal the victory. 

LSU coach Will Wade said Umude's rebound was the first the Tigers have allowed this year on an opponent's missed free throw. 

"Look, give Arkansas credit," Wade said on the LSU postgame radio show. "They made a bunch of plays and we couldn’t close the game out."

The Razorbacks out-rebounded LSU 41-31 and held the Tigers to 21 of 55 (38%) from the floor. 

Arkansas converted 16 LSU turnovers into 20 points, while the Tigers only capitalized for 13 points on 19 turnovers by the Razorbacks. 

Notae led Arkansas with 19 points despite playing only 24 minutes due to foul trouble. Toney scored 12 points and Williams recorded his third consecutive double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. 

Williams also drew four charges and had three steals after a rough start when LSU hit several shots with him as the nearest defender. He had two steals and drew a charge over a crucial four-possession span after the Tigers went ahead by eight points in the second half. 

LSU opened the game on a 9-2 run. The Razorbacks rallied and the teams traded leads multiple times late in the half before the Tigers took a 33-31 halftime lead. 

Smart was coaching in his hometown of Baton Rouge, where he attended McKinley High School. He won a game over LSU 35 years after as a player he helped Indiana to a victory over the Tigers in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. 

In addition to Musselman, the Razorbacks were also without forward Kamani Johnson, who injured his ankle in Wednesday’s 87-43 win over Missouri. LSU starting point guard Xavier Pinson did not play due to an injury. 

Gaines led the Tigers with 14 points, while Fudge and Eason each scored 13. Senior forward Darius Days, who averaged a team-high 14.7 points before the game, was held to 3 points on 1-of-8 shooting and fouled out with 11 seconds remaining. 

The Razorbacks are scheduled to play again Tuesday night against South Carolina at Bud Walton Arena. 


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