GAME NOTES: A pair of teams attempting to overcome recent losses get together
on Wednesday night, as the Auburn Tigers play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks
in an SEC showdown.
Arkansas halted a brief two-game win streak on Saturday afternoon when it
traveled to Vanderbilt and was handed a 67-49 defeat. The Razorbacks have
pieced together a solid 14-9 season overall with a 5-5 mark in the SEC, but
while they have been outstanding at home (14-1), they have yet to win a road
game this season.
Auburn was able to snap out of a season-long, six-game losing streak on Feb. 6
with a 49-37 home win versus Alabama, but it fell right back to its losing
ways on Saturday in a 72-62 setback to Kentucky. The Tigers are in the midst
of a poor season (9-14, 3-7 SEC), but they have at least played respectably at
These two teams battled into double-overtime in Fayetteville back on Jan. 16,
with Arkansas coming out on top, 88-80. The Razorbacks have now won five in a
row over the Tigers to improve to 29-16 in the all-time series.
The Razorbacks were stifled offensively in their weekend matchup with
Vanderbilt, as they shot a lowly 30.8 percent from the field on their way to
the 18-point defeat. Mardracus Wade was the only player to score in double
figures for Arkansas with 13 points, although Kikko Haydar was impressive in
15 minutes off the bench, making all three of his long-range attempts for nine
points. Typically, Arkansas is one of the more potent offensive squads not
only in the SEC but in the nation, as it nets greater than 77 ppg, but it has
been a completely different team away from Fayetteville, putting up only 58.4
ppg in five true road tests. BJ Young has been the team's catalyst, netting
16.5 ppg on 45.2 percent shooting while tallying more than twice as many
assists (85) as turnovers (40). Marshawn Powell is the Hogs' certerpiece in
the frontcourt, as he shoots greater than 52 percent from the floor for 15.1
ppg while adding 5.6 rpg and more than a block and a steal per contest.
The Tigers fought hard for the majority of their clash with Kentucky, as they
trailed by just three early in the second half, but the Wildcats proceeded to
go on a 16-6 run to put the game away. Auburn had a rather modest day shooting
the ball, making 43.1 percent of its field goal attempts, and it was outscored
at the foul line by a commanding 26-11 margin. While the starting five
combined for only 23 points, Chris Denson (15 points), Noel Johnson (12
points) and Shaquille Johnson (10 points) all put in solid turns coming off
the bench. Frankie Sullivan is one of the SEC's most dangerous scorers,
pouring in 15.7 ppg, but he does so on only 37.5 percent field goal
efficiency, and over the past seven games he has mustered a meager 11.1 ppg.
Denson (11.8 ppg) adds a spark off the bench, and Rob Chubb is solid in the
paint with 9.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 1.0 bpg. As a team, Auburn nets almost exactly
the same amount of points (66.5 ppg) as it surrenders (66.6 ppg).
Despite Arkansas' solid record this season, it cannot be considered a
legitimate contender in the SEC until it starts to conquer its road woes. The
Razorbacks have been more impressive than the Tigers in just about every way
this season, but until Arkansas can prove it can win away from Fayetteville,
it should not be given the benefit of the doubt.