NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Arkansas was down 10 with 2:28 left and got it to within one on a JD Notae steal and Justin Smith layup with 39 seconds left. LSU scored on the ensuing possession and was 4-of-4 from the free throw line inside the final 11 seconds to defeat #8 Arkansas, 78-71, in the SEC semifinals Saturday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena.
Arkansas has its 12-game SEC win streak snapped, is 22-6 for the season and reached the SEC Tournament semifinal for the 15th time.
Justin Smith scored six points and Moses Moody converted an old-fashion 3-point play during the 9-0 run to make it a one-point game. Smith finished with 21 points, making 10-of-13 shots, with seven rebounds. Moody, who had 20 first-half points, just missed a double-double as he scored 28 points, tying his career high for the fourth time this season and third time in a four-game span. He added nine rebounds, marking the fourth time this season he led the Hogs in both scoring and rebounding in the same game.
Down three at halftime, Arkansas out-scored the Tigers 13-7 to start the second half and took a three-point lead (50-47). LSU answered with a 17-2 run to lead by 12 and the Tigers held the lead the rest of the way. LSU was up seven with 5:35 left to play. While the Tigers only made one field goal the rest of the way, LSU was 9-of-9 from the line to secure the win.
Arkansas struggled from 3-point range in the second half, making just 1-of-12, while LSU was 4-of-9.
Cameron Thomas led LSU with 21 points ad Javonte Smart had 19. Darius Days added 13.
Davonte Davis contributed eight rebounds and five assists for Arkansas. Ethan Henderson was strong off the bench for a second straight game with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Up next, Arkansas will wait to see its postseason future when the NCAA has its Selection Show on CBS at 5 pm (CT) Sunday (Mar. 14).
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 37 – LSU 40
- Davonte Davis scored the game’s first points and Moses Moody scored the next 10 for the Razorbacks and Arkansas led 12-10 at the first media timeout (15:15). Mood hit a 3-pointer to score 13 of the team’s first 15.
- Arkansas built an eight-point lead (24-16) but LSU tied the games at 31-31 for the third media timeout (7:45).
- Overall, LSU used a 7-0 tun to lead by six (38-32) at 4:22.
- During Arkansas’ 12-game SEC win streak, the Razorbacks have trailed at halftime five times. In fact, Arkansas has trailed at halftime in four of the last five games. One of those games was trailing by five in a home win over LSU on Feb. 27.
- Moody made 7-of-10 shots (4-of-5 from 3-point) and led the Hogs with 20 first half points. He and Justin Smith played all forty minutes.
- Ethan Henderson led the Hogs with six rebounds in the period. His best for the season this year was fur on two occasions.
- LSU had three players in double figures: Javonte Smart (13), Cameron Thomas (11) ad Darius Days (10).
SECOND HALF: Arkansas 34 – LSU 38
- Justin Smith scored four and Jal34en Tate hit a 3-pointer to help Arkansas out-score LSU 8-4 to start the second half and lead 45-44 at the first media timeout (15:50).
- Arkansas went 5:30 without a field goal and LSU’s Cameron Thomas hit a 3-pointer to put LSU up two (52-50) with 11:59 left.
- Davonte Davis tied the game at 52-52 with two free throws before LSU went on a 7-0 run to force an Arkansas timeout at 9:57.
- Arkansas shot 42.9% from the field and held LSU to 37.5%. However, LSU was 4-of-9 from 3-point range and Arkansas was 1-of-12.
- Justin Smith was 7-of-9 from the field and scored 15 of his 21 points in the period.
- JD Notae had three steals.
- Arkansas is 7-8 all-time when playing in the SEC semifinals and drop to 2-3 when playing LSU in the SEC Tournament.
- Arkansas had its 12-game SEC win streak snapped. The streak tied the program record for consecutive wins versus SEC opponents with the 1993-94 team. Ironically, like this year, that team also won its final 11 regular-season SEC games, won in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal before losing in the SEC semifinals. That 1993-94 team went on the win the NCAA Championship.
- Arkansas’ starting lineup was Jalen Tate (G) – Davonte Davis (G) – Moses Moody (G) – Justin Smith (F) – Connor Vanover (F) for the 10th consecutive game. The lineup lost for the first time and is 9-1 this season.
- Arkansas won the opening tip. Arkansas is 14-3 when controlling the tip.
- Davonte Davis scored the game’s first points, a jumper in the left short corner at 19:37. Arkansas is 15-4 when it scores first.
- Ethan Henderson and JD Notae were the first subs for Arkansas.
- Moses Moody had another big bounce-back game after being held to single digits. Moody only scored five points in the quarterfinal win over Mizzou. It was the fourth time this season he was held to single digits. However, the following game after being held to single digits, Moody is averaging 24 points (25 versus Georgia, 26 at Vanderbilt, 17 at Oklahoma State and 28 versus LSU today).
- Ethan Henderson had two field goals, both dunks. This season, he has made 10 field goals with seven dunks. He had five blocked shots in the two SEC Tournament games. He has 12 for the season.
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