FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas guard Mason Jones scored 20 points and added five rebounds to help his team fend off Georgia 70-60 on Tuesday night.
The Razorbacks (12-8, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) survived the Dawgs’ 56-32 advantage on the boards, but a dreadful combination of 16 turnovers and 15-for-29 free-throw shooting put the visitors in a bind and kept the Hogs afloat.
Georgia (10-10, 1-6) tied it at 52 on a William Jackson II 3-pointer with 6:23 remaining, but Arkansas freshman Isaiah Joe, who came into the game leading the SEC with 68 3s, responded with a corner triple that gave the Razorbacks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Georgia entered the game with a renewed sense of purpose after beating Texas on January 26. The Tom Crean-led squad opened the first five minutes with an 11-2 run that included a number of hustle plays and offensive rebounds.
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford played a role in bringing his team back by hitting his first four free throws, which was a rarity considering he came into the game shooting 56.7 percent from the line.
Razorback coach Mike Anderson decided to sit Gafford, his unquestioned star player, after he got in early foul trouble, and the forward had only scored four points in 11 minutes when he was subbed in at the 11:40 mark of the second half. He never came off the court after that, and finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four blocks.
Arkansas point guard Jalen Harris scored 13 points and scored his team’s final three points from the line. Known for his ability to take care of the basketball, he didn’t have a turnover in a team-leading 32 minutes of action.
On the other side, Nicolas Claxon tied the Dawgs’ game high with 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting. His 7-for-10 output of the line was a welcome sight for the Bulldogs, whose other top scorer went 2-of-11 on free-throw attempts. He did his damage down low when Gafford was out of the game.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks’ 14 blocked shots were the most for a conference game in program history. Freshman Reggie Chaney led the team with five blocks, while Gafford’s four and Harris’ two were key. Although the Hogs dropped a close road game at Texas Tech on January 26, they’re on a two-game conference winning streak going back to a home victory against Mizzou on Jan. 23.
Georgia: The Dawgs are on a five-game conference losing streak going back to a loss at Auburn on January 12. They came into the game averaging 40.2 rebounds per game to lead the conference, but they significantly eclipsed that average against the Razorbacks with 54. At 1-6 in the SEC, the Bulldogs are one Vanderbilt victory away from tying for last place.
The Razorbacks travel to Baton Rouge to play LSU on Feb. 2.
The Bulldogs return home to face South Carolina the same day.