HOUSTON — Jarrett Allen and Tevin Mack both posted double-doubles for Texas but it wasn’t enough as the Longhorns’ inconsistency led to a 77-74 loss to Arkansas at Toyota Center.
Texas looked like the better team during the first half and had a 35-30 lead at the break. The Horns shot 40 percent and forced six turnovers.
But after halftime, Arkansas went on a 13-3 run during a 3:30 minute span that gave the Razorbacks a nine-point lead. Big deficits are nothing new for Texas, which has made a habit out of crawling out of double-digit holes this season.
True to form, the Longhorns came charging back with two buckets from Shaq Cleare and a hard-fought layup by Tevin Mack. Kerwin Roach Jr. got blocked, but Cleare was in the right place again for an easy putback score. Andrew Jones finally tied it up with a driving layup and free throw with 4:41 remaining.
But Arlando Cook and Dusty Hannahs scored for the Razorbacks, and Jaylen Barford put in another layup and free throw with 3:12 remaining to give Arkansas a 68-62 lead.
Texas got back within two after Andrew Jones made the second of two free throws with 41.7 seconds left. Arkansas turned it over while trying to inbound with 14.9 seconds left, but Texas couldn’t convert. A team struggling this season with no true point guard couldn’t get a clean look in the closing seconds. Roach’s off-balance 3-point attempt wasn’t even close as the Hogs closed it out and improved to 9-1 this season.
Tevin Mack sure came ready to play. He finished with a team-high 20 points, went 4 of 8 from 3-point range and had 12 rebounds. For the first time this season, Jarrett Allen’s play matched his hype. He finished with 11 points on 5 of 10 shooting and had 10 rebounds. That included a nasty one-handed flush over Moses Kingsley, the SEC preseason player of the year.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
The Longhorns felt like the defense had been coming around the last few weeks. They were on point early against the Razorbacks. Players rotated well, trapped the Hogs down low and made life miserable. Arkansas made just one of its first eight shots and just one of its last nine before halftime. But the Horns simply missed two many chances at the rim. They missed 17 layups
There was a slew of little plays that when isolated don’t mean much. But taken collectively, these are the plays that lead to momentum and victories. Like when Allen kicked a ball to Andrew Jones for a corner 3-pointer early. Tevin Mack got fouled on his follow through on a made 3-pointer. James Banks forced Moses Kingsley to stumble on the low block and get called for traveling. Kerwin Roach also drove and drew a foul with three seconds left on the shot clock.
This would classify as a mixture of down then up. Texas had a 26-20 lead after Banks ran the floor and flipped in a layup with 7:04 remaining in the first half. But the Horns scored just two points over the next four minutes as the Razorbacks pulled ahead by two. Allen then dunked his own miss, Cleare hit two free throws and Allen had another dunk as Texas dusted itself off and led 35-30 at halftime.
Texas has one more game before the Christmas break, a Wednesday night date with UAB at the Erwin Center. UAB shot a school-record 72.1 percent in an 84-73 win over Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 7. However, coach Rob Ehsan’s squad has a 5-5 record after letting Memphis rally in the second half for a 62-55 win on Dec. 13. UAB hosts Southern University on Sunday.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email email@example.com.
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