Story and photos by Mike Price
Charles Bassey dunks.
Arkansas started the game firing behind a couple of early threes by freshman Isaiah Joe and a layup by sophomore Daniel Gafford. After a Gafford dunk at the 15:18 mark, that gave the Hogs their largest lead of the day at 17-8 and looked like they would have the game in hand early. But the Hilltoppers slowly chipped away at the lead and it down to a 2 point game at 22-20. WKU player Josh Anderson fouled Isaiah Joe on a layup and was called for a Flagrant 2 and ejected from the game with 2:04 left. The Hogs went on to a halftime lead up 41-33.
Western Kentucky came out in the second half on a 15-3 run to take the lead 48-46. From there, the game would go back and forth until WKU went up 57-49 on a Tolu Smith dunk. The Hogs kept clawing back and Mason Jones made a 3 pointer to get within 1 at 76-75 with 2:16 to play. After several missed shots, turnovers and rebounds, Gafford made a layup with 40 seconds left to put the Hogs up 77-76. On the next possession, Hilltopper Charles Bassey made an interior pass to set up Marek Nelson for an easy layup to put WKU on top for good at 78-77. Hog Jalen Harris missed a layup with 4 seconds left and the ball was lost out of bounds by WKU with 1 second left. With one last attempt, the ball was thrown into Gafford who missed a heavily contested shot. The loss snapped a 64 game win streak the Hogs had when leading at halftime and dropped them to 6-2 while the Hilltoppers improved to 5-4.
Jalen Harris drives to the hoop.
Next up for the Hogs is a home game vs UTSA in North Little Rock at Verizon Arena on Dec 14th.