FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – The 20th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks shot over 55 percent in the final 20 minutes and scored 51 second-half points as they rallied from a five-point deficit to defeat LSU, 83-75, in an SEC basketball contest Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas is 19-5 overall and 11-4 and solidly in second place in the Southeastern Conference. LSU is 14-8 overall and 9-6 in the SEC. LSU remains in position for the SEC Tournament double bye despite the loss after Tennessee lost to Auburn and Ole Miss lost to Vanderbilt.
The Tigers could not keep pace with the Razorbacks over the final 20 minutes as fouls put Arkansas in the bonus with more than 11 minutes to go in the contest. Arkansas made 16-of-21 free throws in the second half to just 3-of-7 for the Tigers. LSU shot 42.9 percent in the final 20 minutes making 15 field goals, only one less than Arkansas which was 16-of-29 (55.2%) in the final stanza.
Cameron Thomas had his eighth consecutive game over 20 points with 25 on 11-of-19 shooting, 1 trey and two free throws. Trendon Watford had 16 points and seven rebounds, while Javonte Smart had 15 points and four assists. Josh LeBlanc Sr., had 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers.
Justin Smith led Arkansas with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Moses Moody and JD Notae each had 18 points. Davonte Davis had 15 points.
Arkansas out rebounded LSU, 45-39.
LSU played well at the start as after falling behind 2-0, Cam Thomas hit a jumper to tie then Aundre Hyatt and Smart hit three pointers to give LSU an 8-2 start. That’s the range the game stayed into after the 12-minute media timeout when Arkansas was able to close the game to one, 16-15, on a Smith layup at the 10:49 mark.
But the Tigers stayed strong and opened the margin to 28-19 on a Smart triple with 7:39 to go in the first half. That lead eventually reach as much as 10, 30-20 on a Thomas field goal at the 5:58 mark. LSU would lead at the half, 37-32.
Both teams shot in the 30s in the first half with LSU making 15-of-41 shots and Arkansas 11-of-33.
In the second half, Arkansas hit their first seven field goal attempts and down 46-42, Arkansas would score the next nine points to take the lead for good, 51-46, with 14:41 to go. Arkansas would lead by as much as 21 with six minutes to go before LSU outscored the Razorbacks, 18-5, to get the game to the final margin.
LSU plays its final home game of the 2020-21 season on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Maravich Center against Vanderbilt.