Arkansas holds on to upset No. 19 LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. –Mason Jones hit a driving floater off the glass with 22 seconds left and Arkansas beat No. 19 LSU 90-89 on Saturday night to hand the Tigers their first conference loss this season and first home loss in more than a year.
Daniel Gafford scored 23 points and Isaiah Joe added 18 points for the Razorbacks (13-8, 4-4 SEC), who squandered an 18-point, second-half lead before pulling out the win and halting LSU’s streaks of 18 straight victories at home and 10 overall.
Naz Reid scored 19 and Javonte Smart 18 for LSU (17-4, 7-1), which was trying to start 8-0 in the league for the first time since 1981 _ and very nearly did.
Gafford became the third Razorback to foul out with 2:01 to go and Smart hit two free throws to put LSU in front 89-88.
But neither team scored again until Jones’ clutch shot shortly after LSU guard Tremont Waters had turned the ball over on a risky alley-oop lob intended for Marlon Taylor as Taylor cut along the baseline.
The Tigers had three shots on their last possession. Smart rebounded Reid’s missed layup, but missed a pull-up jumper. Reid corralled the next rebound as his momentum took him away from the basket, and his off-balance 3 fell short as time ran out.
Arkansas players and coaches stormed off the bench and embraced one another as time ran out and several players glared triumphantly toward the nearby LSU student section, from where they had been showered relentlessly with taunts as their once large lead slipped away.
Keyshawn Embery-Simpson tied a career high with 16 points for Arkansas, hitting four of his team’s 13 3-pointers. Joe also hit four 3s, giving him 73 this season.
Jalen Harris scored 11 points before fouling out with 4:22 to go, shortly after his 3 had given the Hogs an 84-79 lead.
Skyler Mays scored 17 for LSU and Waters finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Kavell Bigby-Williams scored 10 points.
Arkansas took its largest lead, at 66-48, when Reggie Chaney’s dunk with 13:45 left capped a 10-0 run that also included five points from Adrio Bailey on two free throws and a 3.
But a packed crowd at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center responded shortly after by roaring to urge LSU on, the Tigers methodically chipped away until taking their first lead since erly in the first half on Smart’s off-balance finger roll in a crowd under the hoop with 3:39 left.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks shot 54.2 percent from 3-point range (13 of 24) and 58.3 percent overall (35 of 60). That was narrowly enough to overcome LSU’s 25-point advantage from the foul line and 44-20 advantage in rebounds.
LSU: The Tigers, who won at Arkansas in overtime earlier this season, nearly came back by using their athleticism and imposing their will inside. They lost the game by losing track of Arkansas’s best perimeter shooters and in part because of their own struggles from 3-point range, where they shot 20.8 percent (5 of 24). They also turned the ball over a season-high 21 times.
Arkansas hosts Vanderbilt on Tuesday.
LSU visits Mississippi State on Wednesday.