Photographs by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas guard C.J. Jones looks for a shot during a game against LSU on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Friday, January 12, 2018
FAYETTEVILLE -- No matter what Mike Anderson tried he couldn't fix the problem against LSU on Wednesday night because it wasn't coaching.
Anderson used 10 players and numerous combinations, and still the shooting was colder than an Alaskan well digger's behind in January.
Of the 10 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville players who took the court, only two shot over .500 from the field and both of them were big men.
Freshman Daniel Gafford was 3 of 5 and backup senior center Trey Thompson was 4 of 6.
Interestingly enough, on Anderson's TV show last Sunday he said good things happen when the Razorbacks go inside, and yet, they came out and shot jumper after jumper, more times than not after only one or two passes. They couldn't have thrown it in ocean if they were standing in it.
As a team, they were 19 of 57 shooting, 33.3 (4-18 on threes, 22.2 percent). Take Gafford and Thompson out and that drops to 12 of 46 and 26 percent made. That's not going to beat anyone, anywhere at any time.
Another thing Anderson has been talking about is defense, and it is even more critical when you are having an off night shooting.
A year ago there probably wasn't one game when Daryl Macon, Jaylen Barford and Dusty Hannahs were all off, but there wasn't even a warm guard in a Razorback uniform against LSU.
The officiating was horrible, but that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. It was a puzzling night as far as the calls went.
Consider that Anderson got teed up by Pat Adams, who was 30 feet away while Anderson was talking to lead official Anthony Jordan.
And after the final buzzer of the 75-54 Tigers' win, official Ron Groover was walking off the court when he suddenly slowed and told Chris Pohl, UA's associate athletic director for event management and sports administration, that their crew wouldn't be back if the two guys he pointed out weren't banned.
Earlier, Adams had pointed out someone he wanted ejected. All three of the zealous fans were sitting in the big chairs next to the court.
Seems to this reporter that those officials were a bit oversensitive.
Again, those three refs had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
LSU controlled the rim from the opening tip. While Arkansas did a good job of keeping LSU's phenomenal freshman point guard Tremont Waters from scoring, they couldn't stop him from helping his team with eight assists. LSU finished with 18 assists and only nine turnovers. The Hogs had only 10 assists and 11 turnovers.
After Arkansas beat Tennessee, which was ranked and had several big wins on its resume, the Hogs became a hot team. Talk of the Sweet 16 was everywhere and folks who project the NCAA Tournament bracket had them as a No 6 seed.
Since then, the Hogs have lost to Mississippi State, Auburn and LSU. At this rate they aren't going to make the field of 68.
It is totally up to these six seniors -- four who usually start -- to step up and be leaders and not just shooters.
The biggest reason LSU dominated was because of the smallest man on the floor, the 5-11 Waters, who was in control of his team start to finish.
The Razorbacks are better than their last three games.
This is not why Barford and Macon came back for their senior seasons.
Aside from Hannahs, Moses Kingsley and Manny Watkins, this is the team that almost knocked off eventual national champion North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
Right now, they aren't going to have the chance to beat anyone because they won't be playing, but that's up to the team, especially six seniors.
Sports on 01/12/2018
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