Arkansas basketball

Arkansas basketball narrowly escaped Texas Tech in the Round of 32.

Arkansas basketball led by as many as 13 in the second-round matchup, but Texas Tech battled back to cut the Razorback lead to one with 5:32 to play.

Arkansas then got the lead to eight, but the Red Raiders stormed right back, cutting the lead to just one yet again with two minutes to play..

Arkansas basketball failed to convert on offense, but Texas Tech missed a layup with 37 seconds to play, forcing them to foul. Arkansas’ JD Notae hit one of two free throws, but Texas Tech missed another open layup, giving Arkansas the narrow 68-66 win.

Justin Smith led the Razorbacks with 20 points, and Davonte Davis, Jalen Tate, and Moses Moody each added 15 points. Jaylin Williams was the only Arkansas starter to not reach double figures in points, scoring only one, but he snatched 10 rebounds to lead the team.

1) Texas Tech had its Chances

Down one, Texas Tech had a chance to take the lead for the first time in the second half but failed to convert.

It again had an opportunity with the shot clock off to bring the game to overtime, but Kyler Edwards missed a layup right before the buzzer sounded after shedding the defender and getting an open look.

The Red Raiders shot 50% from beyond the arc but hit a measly 29% of their two-point attempts. 12 goals from inside the arc is not an ideal total to win a game, especially in March Madness. Texas Tech needed to convert on more of their two-point attempts, including the two layups at the end of the game.

2) Arkansas kept Mac McClung Quiet

Texas Tech’s leading scorer Mac McClung, averages 15.3 points per game on 42% shooting, to nine points on just 2-6 shooting. McClung could not get free to get his shot off, which is a credit to the Arkansas defense.

McClung only shot six times, less than half of his season average. He also hit one of two three-pointers, despite averaging 4.8 attempts from three per game. Taking McClung out of the game forced Terrance Shannon Jr. to take over the leading scorer duties, and despite scoring 20, he shot just 6-16 from the field.

3) Sharing the Wealth

Arkansas put four players into double figures scoring, combining for 65 of the Razorbacks 68 points. They also shot a combined 48% from the field.

Spreading out scorers is key in March Madness, as anyone can get hot or cold at any given time. Relying on just one guy can be detrimental, which is exactly what happened to Texas Tech, causing the loss.

Arkansas moves on to face the winner of Oral Roberts and Florida next week in the Sweet 16. March Madness continues to impress in 2021.

By Samuel Bass

Writing sports, college basketball, ACC hoops

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