Arkansas Basketball Notebook: Mitchell tops career high, again

Arkansas center Makhi Mitchell is shown during a game against Texas A&M on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in College Station, Texas. (Ryan Witthoff/Arkansas Athletics)

University of Arkansas forward Makhi Mitchell had another big game to help lift the Razorbacks to a 78-71 win at Texas A&M on Tuesday night at Reed Arena.

Mitchell posted his fourth double-double of the season with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds. Mitchell shot 6 of 9 from the floor and made 10 of 12 free throws.

According to HogStats.com, Mitchell is the first Razorback to score 20-plus points and have 13 rebounds off the bench since Oliver Miller did it against Minnesota during the 1991-92 season with 23 points and 17 rebounds.

Mitchell also notched four blocked shots and had a plus-minus rating of plus-12.

Mitchell had double-doubles in a win over Old Dominion and in back-to-back games against Kentucky and Missouri three weeks ago.

The 6-10, 240-pounder from Washington has notched 20-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time, following up his 21-point effort at Mississippi State on Saturday.

Line games

Arkansas scored its final nine points from the free-throw line and finished 28 of 34 (82.4%) there to hold a big advantage over the Aggies.

Texas A&M went 25 of 39 (64.1%) from the free-throw line.

In the two games combined, Arkansas went 59 of 74 (79.7%) from the line while Texas A&M was 48 of 72 (66.7%).

Board battle

Texas A&M out-rebounded Arkansas 47-40 overall and 20-11 on the offensive glass.

The huge offensive rebounding deficit did not come back to burn the Hogs as they outscored the Aggies 19-7 in second-chance points.

Swat city

The Razorbacks got busy on defense with eight blocked shots, including four from Makhi Mitchell.

Layden Blocker got in on the blocking theme by getting his fingers on a Wade Taylor three-point try by aggressively coming around a screen. Taylor’s deflected miss, the 15th in a row by the Aggies, wound up in the hands of Tramon Mark, who dribbled behind his back around a defender in the backcourt, then passed to Jeremiah Davenport for a layup and a 48-40 Arkansas lead at 10:47.

Wade out

Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor had a much different game the second time around after lighting up the Razorbacks for 41 points in a 78-77 loss at Walton Arena on Jan. 16.

Taylor shot 3 of 12 from the field and 0 for 4 from three-point range before fouling out with 11 points.

Bad ‘Boots’

Texas A&M guard Tyrece “Boots” Radford had his second rough offensive outing of the season against the Razorbacks. Radford made 5 of 16 shots and wound up with 12 points in 35 minutes.

In the losses to Arkansas, Radford was a combined 7 of 31 from the field (22.6%) and 0 of 7 from three-point range.

Radford missed a three-point try after Wade Taylor’s missed free throw to try to complete a three-point play with 2:44 remaining. Had Radford’s three-point try gone down, the Aggies would have forged a 61-61 tie with a 9-0 run in about 1:20.

Long drought

Texas A&M missed a stunning 15 shots in a row early in the second half but possibly more surprising, the Aggies were only outscored by nine points during the brick spree that lasted from a Jace Carter layup at the 19:50 mark until Carter hit a three-pointer at 9:18.

The Aggies had a bizarre sequence with four misses on one possession with Wade Taylor blocked by Makhi Mitchell, Jace Carter off course on a three-point try, Taylor with a missed jumper and Hayden Hefner with a missed three-pointer before Khalif Battle secured the defensive board.

Extra point

The Razorbacks got a rare kind of three-point play, in slow motion, at the 8:14 mark of the first half.

For starters, Makhi Mitchell was awarded a field goal for a goaltending call on an assist from Layden Blocker as the officials went to replay and took the under-8 media timeout a little early.

When the game resumed, the goaltending call was confirmed and Texas A&M’s Eli Lawrence was assessed a personal foul on the play. Mitchell converted the three-point play to pull Arkansas within 19-17.

Deep Blocker

Hogs freshman Layden Blocker made the first three pointer of his career late in the first half to give Arkansas a 23-19 lead.

Blocker had been 0 of 11 from three-point range before hitting the three-pointer on a dish from Tramon Mark at the 6:55 mark.

The three points counted as both points off a turnover (from Tyrece Radford) and second-chance points, as Radford had blocked a Khalif Battle shot out of bounds moments earlier.

Going for 3

Texas A&M made a trio of three-point shots, including two from Jace Carter, to build a 19-13 lead with 9:26 left in the first half.

After that, the Razorbacks grabbed a lead of their own with a series of three-point plays. Both Makhi Mitchell and Khalif Battle coverted three-point plays, then Layden Blocker made his first three-pointer as a Razorback to complete a 10-0 run for a 23-19 lead.

Left a Mark

Arkansas guard Tramon Mark aggravated a shoulder injury with 5:50 left in the first half and headed straight to the locker room to have it checked.

Mark, who was already wearing kinesiology tape on his right shoulder, fell on it during a loose ball scramble on the A&M end with the Aggies’ Wade Taylor and teammate Layden Blocker. With the ball in play going the other way, Mark got to his feet and headed to the locker room. He re-emerged during a timeout with 4:22 left in the half and checked in a little while later.

On the rim

Arkansas freshman Layden Blocker went up for what looked like a sure dunk with the Hogs down 10-9 in the first half.

One big problem: 6-7 Andersson Garcia challenged Blocker at the rim and rejected the dunk try. The ESPN broadcast showed a slow-motion replay of the sequence, which showed Garcia’s fingers slip between the rim and the ball to deny the flush.

Early fouls

The Razorbacks had two players miss a big chunk of the first half due to foul trouble.

Guard Davonte Davis picked up two fouls in the first 2:15, the second one whistled for a moving screen on the offensive end as he bowled over Wade Taylor, and he went to the bench.

Jeremiah Davenport, who scored the Hogs’ first 5 points on a three-point shot from 28 feet on the left wing and a second-chance jumper from the right baseline, got his second at the 13:40 mark and checked out for the rest of the half.

100 years

The game Tuesday marked the 100th anniversary of the first meeting in the lengthy series between Arkansas and Texas A&M.

The Aggies won the first meeting 35-27 on Feb. 20, 1914, in College Station, Texas. Arkansas stuck around that night and the teams ran it back the following day, with Texas A&M winning again, 32-17.

Arkansas has dominated the series since then with an all-time series lead of 108-61, including a two-game sweep this year. Arkansas won 78-77 at Walton Arena on Jan. 16.

Personnel report

The Razorbacks were down three key players in Trevon Brazile, Keyon Menifield and Jalen Graham.

Brazile missed his seventh consecutive game with a knee injury. 

Menifield suffered a groin injury and played just four minutes in the 71-67 loss at Mississippi State last Saturday. 

Graham missed a second game in a row after suffering a shoulder injury during the home loss to Tennessee on Feb. 14.