Hogs Conquer Auburn! Looking at the past week and a half, it was really difficult to see a bright spot for the Arkansas Razorbacks. After back to back blowout losses to Alabama and LSU, the Razorbacks found themselves at the bottom of the mountain looking for a way to climb back to SEC relevance. Maybe what this Arkansas team needed was some pandemonium in Fayetteville.
It’s not just that they’ve lost those games, either. Had they been close losses, or even games they showed some kind of fight in, perhaps the Razorback fan base wouldn’t have been looking at the team like they were drowning after a cupcake non-conference schedule. It has specifically been the blowout losses that have bothered the fans. Their luck changed tonight, though, after a lot of heart and intensity caused an upset most people didn’t see coming, as the Hogs conquer Auburn.
Pandemonium in Fayetteville
If anyone was looking for a team to rebound from a slump against, Auburn ain’t it. The addition of Sharife Cooper has the Tigers making serious noise in the SEC this season, and they came into Bud Walton Arena looking for blood.
Halfway through the first half, The Razorbacks found themselves in a familiar situation as the last few games, trailing 37-18 with no signs of life. Careless basketball led to bad shots and terrible turnovers. At one point, they had more turnovers than field goals made. This is where the pandemonium in Fayetteville started.
With about eight minutes to go in the first half, things started to shift. Desi Sills, who has been almost non-existent the last few games, started to play with the fire that we saw from him to start the season. “The last couple games, I wasn’t myself,” Sills said after the game. “My teammates uplifted me and told me to get to the rim, that’s what I’m known for. So that’s what I did.”
A Tale of Two Halves
After being beaten to the ground in the first half, the Hogs came out with a vengeance, and that is where the pandemonium ensued. After a furious defensive run, the Hogs tied the game at 47 by the 15-minute mark. The two squads traded buckets for the better part of six minutes before the Hogs started to pull away, leading by eight with three minutes to go.
Hogs gonna Hog, though, and they let an eight-point lead dwindle to one off of careless turnovers by freshman Devo Davis. As I have said in previous articles, though, defense is paramount for a winning team. And when the game came down to it, it was a strong defensive stand against standout freshman Sharife Cooper on a drive to the bucket that solidified the win for the Razorbacks.
New Faces Starting to Heat Up
To add to the pandemonium in Fayetteville, the emergence of the freshman class was one to take a serious look at. This was not just a huge game for Desi Sills, who finished with 22 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Another pillar of the comeback win came from freshman Jaylin Williams.
The Fort Smith (Northside), Arkansas native finished the game with 7 points and 7 rebounds, but it was his play outside of the stat sheet that made him a threat. His constant disruption in the lane with his length and his way of playing within himself had his teammates consistently getting good looks.
This was also a big game for Devonte Davis, another freshman from Jacksonville, Arkansas. He has come into his own the last few games, running the point off the bench, but he recently has found his footing as one of the top threats in the offense. Against Georgia, he scored a career-high 20 points, and against Auburn, he finished with 10 points, 2 assists and 3 rebounds. He’ll need to clean up the turnovers, though, if he wants to take the next step to be a top point guard in Fayetteville.
Where Do The Hogs Go Next?
After the pandemonium tonight, the Hogs are hoping to ride this momentum right into a weekend matchup against Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Commodores are currently sitting at 4-6 on the year, but have been playing tough behind the play of Scottie Pippen, Jr.
The game Saturday will be televised on the SEC Network at 12 P.M.
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