Hogs drop close one at Baylor
By Otis Kirk
Arkansas gave No. 17 Baylor all it could handle on Saturday in Waco, but the Bears escaped with a 67-64 win.
The Hogs actually had a shot at sending the game to overtime when Devo Davis’ missed free throw was tipped out to the right corner to Joseph Pinion. The Morrilton freshman took his first shot of the game and missed what would have tied the game. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman asked if Davis was supposed to make the first free throw?
“That would be ideal (to hit the first FT, then have what happened on the miss), but they surprisingly got the spots exactly like we’re supposed to,” Musselman said. “It was a Hubie Brown play that we work on all the time and finally had a chance to execute it.”
The Razorbacks led 53-49 with 6:08remaining in the game when Jordan Walsh hit a jumper. But the Bears then went on a 10-0 run and led 59-53 with 2:01 left in the game. Musselman talked about the effort he got on Saturday from his squad.
“The one thing that you always want from your basketball team is to play as hard as they possibly can,” Musselman said. “Anybody that was here walked away and saw a great basketball game. I feel for the locker room. They’re giving it all they have. I mean, this is a ranked team at home coming off beating Kansas.
“We went with a half-court trap that I thought we executed to perfection, especially in the first half. I think they were 1 of 14 against it.”
The Hogs did score the final 11 points of the first half to take a 33-27 lead into intermission. That became a 13-point run when the Hogs scored the first basket of the second half. But the Bears got into the bonus five minutes into the second half. They finished the game making 21 of 24 while the Hogs made 6 of 11. Musselman was asked how much difference it made for Baylor to get into the bonus that fast in the second half?
“I’m not going to talk about … How much does it change when someone’s in the bonus that shoots fouls as good as their players?,” Musselman said. “It drastically changes the game … I mean, five minutes into a half.”
The Razorbacks shot 51 percent from the field compared 34 for Baylor. Arkansas made 27 of 53 shots while holding the Bears to 20 of 59. Ricky Council IV topped the Hogs with 25 points. Musselman was impressed with what he got from the Wichita State transfer.
“I thought he did a great job of finding seams in the zone, especially in the second half,” Musselman said. “We kind of moved him around in different areas.”
Davis added 16 points while Anthony Black added seven points, six rebounds and three assists. Arkansas drops to 14-7 on the season. The Razorbacks had several fans in Waco and Musselman gave them a shout-out.
“Our crowds are as good as any in the country,” Musselman said. “Tough place to play, Baylor is, obviously, if you look at their home record. I know that our guys could feel the Razorback people that were here. We travel well, and today was another showing by our fans.”
Baylor moved to 16-5 on the season. The Bears were topped by Keyonte George with 24 points. LJ Cryer added 20 points while Jalen Bridges had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Arkansas will be at home on Tuesday nightto host Texas A&M as they head back to SEC play with a 3-5 mark in the league. The Hogs and Aggies tip at 6 p.m. on ESPN2