Arkansas tempers flare in latest 20-point beatdown at hands of LSU
Arkansas got handled by LSU on Saturday, falling 95-74 to drop to 11-11 on the season. It was the Razorbacks’ fourth loss by at least 20 points since January began. And the frustration was evident throughout.
During a first-half timeout, Makhi Mitchell and coach Eric Musselman were seen having an animated exchange. Tramon Mark tried to play mediator while Mitchell looked to be visibly upset with Musselman.
Here’s the exchange between a heated Makhi Mitchell and Eric Musselman.
Tramon Mark trying to calm Mitchell down. pic.twitter.com/xS6yZ51T4u
— Will Whitson (@will_whitson2) February 3, 2024
After the game, Musselman said this season has been challenging, but downplayed the incident with Mitchell as anything other than a heat-of-the-moment situation.
“I think Khi is trying to do the right thing,” Musselman said. “(LSU’s Will) Baker was hitting 3s and it’s a five-man defense, so if Khi helps on the dribble-drive, we need somebody else to stunt for him. We’ve got to get better at that.”
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Baker hit 9-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3 en route to a game-high 25 points for the Tigers. LSU shot 55% from the field and 52% from 3-point range in the win. Turnovers were even, rebounding was even, LSU just shredded Arkansas’ defense. The Hogs cracked 70 points and still lost by 21.
And it marks an unsightly achievement for this year’s group. Over the previous four seasons under Musselman, Arkansas had four total losses by at least 20 points. Saturday’s drubbing at LSU was the fourth such loss of the 2023-24 campaign.
“We’ve got to get a lot better,” Musselman said. “Defending the 3 has been a problem all year. It’s our job as coaches to get them to execute the gameplan. We knew they were a good 3-point shooting team. … Defensively, not good. Offensively, not good. Was hopeful we’d be able to capitalize off our last two games. Obviously we did not.”
The Razorbacks have now lost seven of their first nine games to begin conference play. They’ll have a week off to prepare for a home matchup with Georgia on Feb. 10, and then they’ll host No. 5 Tennessee on Feb. 14.