FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — – Arkansas guard JD Notae made two free throws with 8.6 points remaining, LSU’s Xavier Pinson missed a final attempt at the rim as time expired as the No. 14 Razorbacks held off the Tigers 77-76 Wednesday night.
Stanley Umude led Arkansas (24-6, 13-4 Southeast Conference) with 23 points. The Razorbacks have won 14 of their last 15 games overall and nine in a row at home.
Notae, who entered as the second-leading SEC scorer averaging 19.1 points per game, had just 12 points, his lowest total since Dec. 1. But he had seven rebounds and five assists to go along with his game-winning free throws.
“JD, when he’s not scoring, he’s still going up,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “Two free throws are obviously a game-changer. Few guys can come out with that confidence when you’re not having a good night on offense.
LSU (20-10, 8-9) had a lead on possession ahead of Notae’s chance at the free throw line, but Pinson missed a 3-pointer and Eric Gaines missed a follow-up, giving the ball to the Razorbacks. Mwani Wilkinson fouled Notae as he looked for a steal on the wing and the Arkansas leader made it two on the line.
Pinson had 12 points on 5-of-21 shooting. He gave LSU the lead with 52 seconds left when he scored at the rim. Neither team led by more than seven points throughout the game.
Tari Eason led LSU with 24 points, but fouled out with 1:35 left.
Arkansas second-leading scorer Jaylin Williams had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and also fouled out with 4:27 left.
The Razorbacks entered the game with a NET rating of No. 23 at LSU’s No. 16, which prompted Musselman’s concern after the game.
“I look at that kind of stuff, like a team winning and losing. What is it?” Mousselman said. “I’ll be really interested because their (LSU) NET is really high. I’m not smart enough to understand. I mean, the last 15 games, how do we play “Us? I hope that will be seriously taken into account as we prepare for the selection on Sunday. I hope there is common sense.”
Arkansas: Maintained its chances of winning an SEC title in the regular season. The Razorbacks are one game behind conference leader Auburn.
LSU: Dropped below .500 in the conference, but looks in good shape for the NCAA Tournament.
Arkansas: At Tennessee on Saturday.
LSU: Hosts Alabama on Saturday.