Entering this week with a 6-0 record and a win at SMU under its belt, No. 18 Arkansas looked to do even more to answer questions regarding their level of play on the road. After failing to do so against No. 20 Iowa State on Thursday, Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks visited a Clemson team that on paper was one many expected Arkansas to defeat.
That wouldn’t turn out to be the case, with Arkansas committing three turnovers in the final 1:17 of regulation and their six-point lead evaporating as a result. In the extra session guard Rod Hall scored seven of Clemson’s 11 points, helping lead Brad Brownell’s team to a 68-65 win.
Hall scored 19 points and Jaron Blossomgame added 11 for the Tigers, who managed to remain close to Arkansas in two statistical areas that the Razorbacks tend to dominate when successful.
Clemson (14 turnovers) committed one more turnover than Arkansas, with the visitors scoring 19 points off of those mistakes. By comparison Clemson scored 16 points off of 13 Arkansas turnovers, with four of those points being scored during their rally that pushed the game into overtime. Michael Qualls and Bobby Portis combined to score 39 points for Arkansas, but their inability to maintain separation after a 14-1 run gave them an eight-point lead halfway through the second half proved costly.
From a numbers standpoint Arkansas has been a better team through eight games than they were a season ago, and an NCAA tournament bid is certainly a reasonable expectation for this group. But even with their win at SMU, there will still be questions regarding their ability to go on the road and play they style they want to consistently.
While road wins against ranked opponents will help change the course of that conversation, taking care of business against teams they’re expected to beat will benefit Arkansas as well. Thanks to some sloppy ball-handling down the stretch, the Razorobacks didn’t do that Sunday night.