Sun December 10, 2023

By Lance Hawley

Hogs Fall to Oklahoma
By Otis Kirk

No. 19 Oklahoma remained undefeated on the season taking a 79-70 victory over Arkansas at the BOK Center in Tulsa Saturday.

Among the events early in the second half was Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman getting two technicals and ejected. Following the game Musselman was asked about the officiating.

"I have no comments about the refs at all," Musselman said.

Arkansas just couldn't get untracked during the game. The largest Arkansas lead was 10-6. The last time the Razorbacks had the lead was 21-19 with 6:02 remaining in the first half. Musselman said he watched the game on TV in the locker room after being ejected. He offered up his thoughts on what happened to his team.

"The team right now is not playing with the same personality as our past teams the last four years," Musselman said. "And we’ve got to get a lot better. I think we play three games in the next 20 days. Rotations, roles, all those things are … There’s going to be some changes. 

"So we’ll go back, we’ll watch the film. Positive is tonight we finally created some steals. So that’s a positive. Finishing at the rim is a huge issue, and not only not finishing at the rim, but falling down. And now transition defense [has been affected]. It’s been going on all year. So we’ve shown film, we’ve done drills. And we’ve got to get a lot better organizing on the floor from the point guard spot. I mean, shot clock violations … There’s a lot of things we have to clean up for sure."

Musselman was asked if it's about the team finding a new personality or making changes? He also was asked how confident he is the team can make those adjustments?

"Our program has had great toughness, great will to win, great competitiveness," Musselman said. "We need to be better in all those areas. To me, that’s part of a team’s personality. 

"I’m just worried about trying to have a good practice on Monday. I mean, how confident is somebody to get it … I mean, we’ve got to get better than where we are right now."

Trevon Brazile played 15 minutes after it was thought he was out for the game. He suffered a sprained ankle against Furman Monday night. Brazile didn't score, had one rebound, an assist and two steals. Musselman admitted Brazile's status was definitely something that went down to the wire.

"Literally right before tipoff," Musselman said. "I met with the doctors I think at, I don’t know, whenever I had to turn in the starting lineup. And then based on conversations, really, with Keith Smart and I, as a player, if you warm up, you don’t want to sit and let it… He did everything he could. I mean, he was rehabbing at all hours of the day. He and Matt (Townsend) the trainer did a great job. Obviously he wasn’t his normal self, but he sacrificed for the team and tried to give us some minutes. That’s not why we lost. I mean, he played on a bum ankle for the betterment of the team, which is, you want guys to be that team-oriented."

Musselman was impressed with the Sooners and talked about Saturday's opponent.

"They’re really well coached," Musselman said. "They play really hard. They understand their roles. I’m not in their locker room [but] it looks like they accept their roles. They looked connected. They play really good defense. They’re very physical on the backboards. In my opinion, they have…(Sam) Godwin, his role of being a great complementary piece, he’s one of the best in college basketball at going vertical. He’s one of the best players at not needing the ball in his hands to affect the game, so reKhally, really impressed with him in particular with his demeanor on the court. He, in my opinion, really excels at his role. You’re talking about a guy who had seven points. But I think he’s phenomenal at what he does and what he gives them."

Khalif Battle led the Razorbacks with 13 points while Jeremiah Davenport added 12. Those were the only two players in double figures for Arkansas. The Sooners had four players with double-digit points. Javian McCollum led the way with 20 points.

Arkansas (6-4) will next play Saturday at 5 p.m. against Lipscomb in Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock. 

Photos Courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3 Sports Action