The Arkansas Razorbacks continued their young, short-handed, Jeckyll/Hyde season by losing to the Kentucky Wildcats 79-63 in front of 19k at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday. Instead of losing like they have the past several games where the Hogs built up a lead and lost it, this time they played hard but never really gave the Wildcats a scare.
In the first official game without Marcus Monk (who was lost for the rest of the year due to ineligibility). and Courtney Fortson (on indefinite suspension), the Hogs were overly thin on the bench and the Wildcats Jodie Meeks torched the Razorbacks for a Bud Walton Arena record 45 points. Yes, 45 points. That’s the most since Alex Dillard scored 39 points way back in the 1993-94 season (anyone remember that season?).
Even though Kentucky played really well (almost 52% from the floor, 11-22 from three, out rebounded us by 6, blocked 8 of our shots), the short-handed Hogs showed up for a game, too. They cut the large Kentucky leads to 11 a few times before being outdone by the better Wildcat team.
A nice thing to hear is that the CBS announcers kept saying that Arkansas, for as young as we are right now, will be a contender in the next few years. They acknowledge that the talent is there, it’s just a serious lack of experience that has us hitting a wall. Stick with the team, and coach, Hog fans.
The loss puts the Hogs record to 13-10 (1-9 in SEC) and is quickly putting ANY post season play out of mind. Additionally, the Razorbacks are now down to eight scholarship players. That’s a serious lack of depth heading into the final stretch of the SEC season. Pelphrey is teaching the kids to play by his rules — as a team. We just need more bodies to put that to full effectiveness. With several slots open, we should be able to grab a few JuCo players in the off-season.
Player/Step-Up Player of the Game: This is an easy choice — Jason Henry. The freshman came off the bench and gave the Hogs 31 minutes, 12 points and 11 rebounds. Henry’s lean athleticism was showcased today and he showed that he’s going to be a good contributor before too long (reminds me of Mike Wash’s good games from last year). The problem with Henry is that he’s still a big time freshman. There were several times that he would make a good play, but turn right around and make a mistake (and let’s not talk about missing all four of his free-throws). But if you don’t play, how will you ever learn?