LSU guard Trendon Watford converted a three-point play with eight seconds left, giving him 21 points for the game and leading the Tigers to a 79-77 win over Arkansas in Baton Rouge, La., on Wednesday night.
LSU forward Charles Manning Jr. twice blocked potential game-winning 3-point attempts in the game’s final two seconds to preserve the win.
Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt Jr. rattled home a 14-footer with 40.2 seconds left to put the Razorbacks ahead, 74-73. But Watford responded with a driving layup down the left side, drew a fifth foul on guard Mason Jones, and sunk the free throw to put LSU up a pair.
Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe hit a pair of foul shots, and the lead changed hands again. But Watford got the ball off an inbounds pass along the baseline, hit a short jumper while being fouled again and then sunk the charity toss.
Jones (24 points) and Whitt (22) led Arkansas (12-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) in scoring.
Skylar Mays (19), Darius Days (16) and Javonte Smart (10) contributed double-digit scoring for LSU (10-4, 2-0), which dominated the rebounding battle 53-24.
LSU trailed by as many as 11 in the first half but took a 51-44 lead with 15:37 to play following an 8-0 run. Arkansas stormed back to tie it, with Joe picking up an open-court steal and a layup to even it at 58 with 11:17 left.
That’s about when the fouls started to pile up on Arkansas. Adrio Bailey joined Reggie Chaney with four fouls with 7:19 left.
LSU re-took a 73-72 lead when Mays grabbed an offensive board and laid it in with 2:30 left, setting the stage for the back-and-forth finish.
The teams traded buckets early, with neither team leading by more than four until almost 15 minutes in. LSU went ahead 24-23 on a Mays three-point play, but then went scoreless over the next 4:40, during which Arkansas had a 12-0 run.
But the Razorbacks didn’t close the half well.
Chaney fouled Mays with 21 seconds left before the break, and, frustrated with the call, swatted the ball into the stands. That, and the ensuing technical, were his third and fourth fouls, and the Tigers hit three free throws to close within 40-37 at half.
Jones had 15 at half, and Whitt had 12. Arkansas out-shot LSU 51.6 percent to 39.4, but the Tigers stayed close thanks to a 25-13 edge on the glass.
—Field Level Media