Pigs on the wrong side of the game’s great runs

TULSA – Taking a page from his father’s book of quotes, Arkansas coach Eric Musselman throughout his tenure with the Razorbacks said there were three key points in most basketball games .

The key, according to Musselman, is to control two of these leads.

In their 88-66 loss to No.12 Arkansas at the BOK Center on Saturday, Oklahoma itself recorded three scoring surges that contributed to the Razorbacks’ first loss of the season. Arkansas fell to 9-1 and the Sooners improved to 8-2, rebounding from a home loss to Butler earlier this week.

“I thought Oklahoma played an amazing game,” Musselman said. “I thought they were cutting hard, I thought they were playing hard, they were bouncing the ball. We dug a hole to start the match. We made up for it in there to be down three or four or whatever.

“We have become more enduring today, to be completely honest. I thought they were playing extremely hard.

Oklahoma opened with a 13-0 run that included 3 three-pointers, including a pair from goalie Elijah Harkless, who led the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Musselman, who called a rare timeout after falling behind 10-0, attributed his squad’s poor start to a lack of respect for Oklahoma’s perimeter threats.

The Sooners knocked down 13 three-pointers, a season-high. Four players made at least 2 shots beyond the arc, led by Umoja Gibson’s 4 on 7 attempts.

“When you lose 10-0 very quickly, it’s hard to get over it,” Musselman said. “They started to shoot it with confidence. Gibson is the player who we knew almost all of his shots were from threes and he got seven out of three shot attempts.

“Then, Harkless, I thought he was phenomenal. He quite simply, thanks to his tenacity and his desire, had an incredible game. “

After trailing up to 15 points early on, Arkansas showed signs of life late in the first half with a series of defensive saves that resulted in an 8-2 run to reduce their deficit at 39-33 at halftime.

Davonte “Devo” Davis, who scored a career-high 26 of 9 of 21 points from the floor, including 4 of 8 from three points, then added a midrange jumper to open the second half and extend. the race to 10-2.

The Razorbacks lost just four points, 39-35. But Oklahoma, in 2:04, had 11 consecutive points to reduce their advantage to 15.

Sooners 6-6 forward Jalen Hill added two layups, Harkless had one free throw, and Jordan Goldwire and Gibson had three straight possessions, forcing Musselman to burn another time out.

From that break, the Razorbacks posted a 16-5 score to draw 57-54 after JD Notae fouled while attempting a three-point shot from the top of the sideline. The Sooners, however, on a day when they were physically the top team, delivered a hayloft to put the game well out of reach.

Between a Davis three at 8:57 of the second half and a Notae three with 2:56 remaining, Oklahoma hit the Razorbacks with a 17-0 avalanche. Midway through the race, Musselman was sent off for the second time as an Arkansas coach after recovering two techniques within seconds.

By the time the Sooners took a 26-point lead with 1:09 remaining, they had scored 25 of the game’s last 28 points. After the game, Musselman said Arkansas played their worst individual defense of their time with the Razorbacks and cited a “multitude of breakdowns.”

“I mean, you can go to any level,” he said. “Chris (Lykes) gives up on three-pointers. Stanley (Umude) almost gave up a lob on an out of bounds side (play), then gave up a layup on an out of bounds endline. The guys have lost their man.

“We struggled to protect the three-point shot and struggled to contain the dribble. We have guys stuck in the middle of no man’s land. We have a lot of guys who need to improve as individual defenders for sure.

“I think Devo and JD can keep (the perimeter) better, and Au’Diese (Toney) is struggling to defend the three and get run over.”

The Razorbacks posted their worst defensive efficiency rating (119.7) since a 99-89 loss to Georgia on February 29, 2020 (134.0), according to KenPom data. And for the fourth time this season, an opponent has made at least 13 threes in a game.

Among Oklahoma’s critical streaks in the game, Davis said Arkansas needed to weather those storms better and stop momentum by getting easy scores themselves. He said the team needs to stay strong mentally and physically.

“Just trying to run a set and get buckets to slow the momentum down, that’s something we’ve been trying to do this game,” said Davis. “But we didn’t have enough stretching to do it. We know that as we approach the next game we have to slow down the opposing team and get the momentum on our side. “

Internal player leadership needs to improve to move forward, Musselman noted.

“We didn’t react very well when they went on the run towards the end of the second half,” he said. “It will be interesting to know how the practices go this week. And, like I said, we have to improve a lot.

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