Arkansas (13-7) at LSU (13-6)
02/01/2014 7:31 AM
02/01/2014 9:13 AM
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas Razorbacks will attempt to win their first road game of the season on Saturday afternoon when they visit the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for an SEC clash with the LSU Tigers.
Arkansas' season as a whole has been rather impressive, as it has won 13 of its 20 games overall, but things have taken a turn for the worse in the SEC, going only 2-5. The Razorbacks most recently dropped a 75-71 decision at home to Missouri on Tuesday night and will now head back out on the road, where they are 0-3.
LSU is fresh off its most impressive win of the season, as it downed nationally-ranked Kentucky at home on Tuesday, 87-82, for its third win in the past four games. The Tigers boast a similar overall record as the Razorbacks (13-6), but they have played much better in league play at 4-3 and have enjoyed the confines of the Maravich Center (9-2).
The Tigers have won three straight contests over Arkansas, but the Razorbacks still lead the all-time series, 31-25.
The Razorbacks battled tight with Missouri from wire-to-wire earlier in the week but eventually fell on the wrong end of a four-point decision, shooting just 39 percent from the field while getting outscored from the free-throw line, 22-13. Rashad Madden shot just 5-of-15 overall but made 4-of-8 from 3- point range en route to 20 points. Michael Qualls was also 4-of-8 from beyond the arc for 16 points, while Bobby Portis netted 16 and ripped down seven rebounds.
On the season, Arkansas shoots 45.5 percent from the field for 82.3 ppg, best in the SEC, but its scoring average plummets all the way to just 62.7 ppg on the road. Even when its shots aren't falling, it can usually stay competitive thanks to a solid scoring defense (69.7 ppg) and an outstanding turnover margin (+6.4). Madden (12.9 ppg) shoots 51.3 percent from the field, including 472 percent from 3-point range. Portis (12.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Qualls (11.7 ppg) are the only other players to score in double figures, but in total 11 players put up at least 3.5 ppg for the deep squad.
The Tigers never trailed Kentucky in their most recent contest, running out to a lead as large as 16 before finishing off the five-point victory. They shot 50.8 percent from the field and were paced by Johnny O'Bryant III, who was 12- of-20 from the field for a season-high 29 points to go with nine rebounds. Shavon Coleman posted 14 points, nine boards and five assists, Jordan Mickey scored 14 points and blocked five shots and Anthony Hickey added 11 points and six assists to the balanced effort.
LSU possesses solid balance on both ends of the floor, as it shoots 45 percent from the field for 76.6 ppg while allowing 69.7 ppg on just 39.5 percent shooting, while also owning a +4.3 rebounding margin. The team's strength comes in the frontcourt, where O'Bryant III (15.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg) and Mickey (13.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.6 bpg) both shoot greater than 52 percent from the floor and make up an imposing forward duo few teams can contend with. Andre Stringer (11.8 ppg) has a team-high 39 3-pointers, while Coleman, Hickey and Jarell Martin all net between 8.6 and 9.2 ppg.
Arkansas has clearly been an inferior team on the road this season, and with the Tigers riding high after their win over Kentucky, expect them to keep rolling in this one.
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