One casual look at the box score from Sunday afternoon’s exhibition in Bud Walton Arena would indicate that Arkansas should have likely lost to Division II East Central University.
The Tigers, who hail from Ada, Okla., held a 37-35 halftime lead and actually enjoyed a double digit cushion at times in the second half before the Razorbacks closed with a flourish and eventually won 77-74.
Arkansas, which opened 16th in the Associated Press Top 25, obviously has some kinks it needs to work out before next Saturday’s final exhibition with North Texas and definitely before the season opener Nov. 9 against Mercer.
“Offensively, they came out in the first half and wanted it more than we did,” Arkansas forward Au’Diese Toney said. “We played too relaxed.”
The Razorbacks also shot the ball terribly as a whole, finishing 44 percent from the field but 13 percent from behind the arc.
They also only made 59 percent of their opportunities from the charity stripe (17 of 29).
“We left a lot of points at the line,” Toney said.
Eric Musselman was truly puzzled in his postgame press conference as to what transpired.
“Behind closed doors, we have not seen the lack of shooting like we did today,” Musselman said. “I was astonished at the lack of physical conditioning that we exhibited early.”
The lack of someone emerging as the primary ball handler is also perplexing Musselman.
“Our point guard play is a concern right now,” Musselman said.
Devo Davis led Arkansas with 20 points while JD Notae had 17. Chris Lykes, the transfer from Miami, had 13 off the bench while Toney, a Pittsburgh transfer, had 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Arkansas will be back in action on Saturday. Tipoff against the Mean Green is slated for 4 p.m.