NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)The 24th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks were not out to rack up style points against Hofstra on Saturday night. They were simply looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season with a win.
Hofstra instead walked away with an 89-81 win – their first in three tries against a ranked team this season.
Hofstra (7-5) was led by former Arkansas big man Abayomi Iyiola, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Razorbacks (9-2) failed to put their 22-point loss to Oklahoma a week ago behind them, and has now lost back-to-back games for the first time since mid-January 2021. JD Notae scored 20 points for Arkansas and Chris Lykes had 19.
”I think Hofstra played harder than we played, which is really hard for me to say because I haven’t said it very often as a coach,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. ”Baybe (Iyiola) dominated us just off effort quite frankly. I’d love to tell you guys a better answer.”
Hofstra led 40-32 at halftime, and didn’t relinquish the lead in the second half.
Hofstra came in with an efficient volume 3-point shooting arsenal ranked in the Top 20 of NCAA Division I. Despite hitting only 7 of 22 for 31.8% from distance, the Pride was dominant in the rebounding (40-33), turnovers (15-11), points-off-turnovers (22-10) and points-in-the-paint (44-26) battles.
On top of that, Hofstra shot 55.8% inside the arc. Arkansas made 44.6% of its shots, including a 12-of-31 effort from 3 (38.7%), which was a vast improvement in both volume and efficiency relative to its season numbers coming into the game.
”I mean, they scored 89 points, they led the entire game, and we got outrebounded by seven,” Musselman said. ”So if your shots aren’t falling, and you get outrebounded, and you don’t defend very well, you’re probably in for a long night, which is what happened.”
Arkansas fell to 2-1 in its all-time series against Hofstra, which came in with two down-to-the-wire road losses against ranked teams in November – then-No. 15 Houston and then-No. 20 Maryland.
Musselman coached first-year Hofstra head coach Speedy Claxton at Golden State during the 2003-04 NBA season.
Hofstra: At Monmouth on Wednesday.
Arkansas: Hosts Elon on Tuesday before starting SEC conference play.
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