Key takeaways, box score from Arkansas Razorbacks' 86-81 loss at Texas A&M Aggies
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Key takeaways, box score from Arkansas' 86-81 loss at Texas A&M

JD Notae scored 31 points in Arkansas' loss at Texas A&M on Saturday.
JD Notae scored 31 points in Arkansas' loss at Texas A&M on Saturday. (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

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For the second game in a row, Arkansas made things interesting in the closing seconds, but couldn’t pull off a dramatic comeback.

After pulling within a point with about one minute left, the Razorbacks didn’t catch the same breaks it did earlier in the week against Vanderbilt and came up short 86-81 at Texas A&M on Saturday.

The loss drops Arkansas to 0-3 in SEC play for the first time since 2009, when it went 2-14 in John Pelphrey’s second season. The Razorbacks had lost their first three conference games just four times in their previous 50 seasons.

It seemed as though the result was imminent when the Aggies pushed their lead to 17 about midway through the second half, but Arkansas rallied to make it close down the stretch.

JD Notae’s jumper that capped a 10-0 run to make it a one-point game with 1:08 remaining proved to be the last time the Razorbacks touched the ball with a chance to tie it up. Texas A&M answered on the ensuing possession, as Quenton Jackson - who had missed his first three attempts in the game - drilled a 3-pointer late in the shot clock.

After Davonte Davis knocked down a pair of free throws to once again make it a one-possession game, Arkansas burned 13 seconds before fouling Hassan Diarra to stop the clock. Despite having played just 4 minutes and being a 55.6 percent free throw shooter, he made both attempts.

“We were trying to get a steal on the foul,” head coach Eric Musselman said. “We wanted to give ourselves an opportunity of going the other way. So that I think played out the way we needed to. We fouled the guy that we felt was the right guy at the right time.”

On the other end of the floor, Davis was fouled with 5 seconds remaining and went to the line in a four-point game. He knocked down the first and then Arkansas called a timeout to discuss its plan.

With so many variables that had to go their way if he made the second to make it a 2-point game, the Razorbacks opted to have Davis intentionally miss and hope for a tip-out. They got the miss they were looking for, but Davis was called for a lane violation because he left the line before the ball touched the rim.

“It was a decision that we made as a group, as well,” Musselman said. “It wasn't just me making the decision, we discussed the three different things that we would have to do with 5.7 seconds left. Close, but didn't go our way.”

That effectively ended the game, with Texas A&M making another pair of free throws to create the final score of 86-81.

Here are a few other key takeaways from the Razorbacks’ loss…

Game of Runs

It might be one of the most used cliches in basketball, but Arkansas has taken “game of runs” to the extreme this year and Saturday’s game was the perfect illustration of that.

The Razorbacks jumped out to an 11-point lead early in the first half and had a 10-point advantage (24-14) nine minutes in. Over the next 20 minutes, though, things went horribly wrong.

Texas A&M outscored Arkansas 23-11 the rest of the way in the first half to take a 2-point lead into halftime. The Razorbacks managed to regain the lead early in the second half, but the Aggies responded with a 16-0 run to take control of the game.

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