Razorbacks continue to search for answers amid SEC skid
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FAYETTEVILLE – Despite overtime losses to Auburn and Missouri, it wasn't until Tuesday that it looked like Eric Musselman and the Razorbacks had run out of answers. Arkansas had been one of nine teams in DI not to lose by double-digits this season and the streak ended at the hands of the Vols.
With the team's second-leading scorer, Isaiah Joe, continuing his indefinite knee rehab, the 16-8 Hogs look like they're teetering on the edge of the NCAA tournament cliff.
Subtracting Joe's 36 minutes and 16.3 points per game has forced Musselman to get creative but at the end of the day, he says it's execution that's the key more than anything he could draw up.
After six consecutive games as the team's leading scorer, Mason Jones has begun drawing much more stringent defense, limiting him to 17 and nine points in the last two losses. Despite added pressure, Jones has gotten plenty of shots up, they just haven't fallen down at his typical rate. He's 4-24 from the field in the last two games compared to shooting 44.2% on the season until the Auburn game.
"We had plenty of open looks the other night and the ball didn’t go in," Musselman said. "We’ve got to make open shots. We want to continue to be a top-20 defensive team. Right now, we’re 18th in the nation in steals, top 10 in turnover margin, a lot of good things, but we’ve got to start making shots. We can’t, as a team, just rely on Mason to get 35. Other players have to make open shots.”
To survive a bad shooting day from Jones, Musselman needs playmakers like Desi Sills and Jimmy Whitt to step up their execution as well. They combined to go 6-of-27 against Tennessee.
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