FAYETTEVILLE — Isaiah Joe scored 11 of his 17 points over the final 8:18 of the second half to help Arkansas pull away for a 69-59 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday night before a sold-out at Bud Walton Arena.
The game was the SEC opener for both teams. Arkansas improved to 12-1, the program’s best start since 2008-09.
Joe was 4-of-5 from the field (3-of-4 from 3-point range) over the final 8:18. Mason Jones, who had four rebounds over the final 8:18, scored 17 for the game as well, while adding a team-high six rebounds with three assists and three steals.
After Adrio Bailey picked up his fourth foul with 12:12 left in the game, Arkansas went to a five-guard lineup. Including Joe’s 11 points over the span 8:18, Arkansas out-scored the Aggies 19-11 and out-rebounded A&M 10-9.
Arkansas also forced eight turnovers, while committing just two.
Arkansas was clinging to a two-point lead (50-48) after a near six-minute drought, missing nine straight shots and making just 1-of-12 over six-and-a-half minutes.
Jimmy Whitt, Jr., ended the dry spell with a jumper at the free throw line. Texas A&M’s Andre Gordon followed with a layup to get the Aggies back to within two, 52-50.
From that point, Joe drained a 3-pointer as part of a 14-6 run to put the Razorbacks up 10 (66-56) with 3:52 left.
The teams traded 3-pointers over the next two minutes, including one by Joe at 1:41 to provide the 69-59 final as neither team scored the rest of the game.
Joe finished with five 3-pointers, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Desi Sills added 13 and Whitt 12. Jalen Harris had five assists and zero turnovers in 31 minutes off the bench.
Arkansas hits the road for two straight, playing at LSU on Wednesday (Jan. 8) and at Ole Miss next Saturday. The LSU game is set for 8 pm and the game will be telecast on ESPNU.
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 42–Texas A&M 33
• Isaiah Joe took his team-leading ninth charge at 12:44 in the first half and the game was tied 11-11 at the first media timeout.
• Arkansas took its first lead, 13-11, after two free throws by Jalen Harris. The Hogs led 15-14 at the under 12-minute timeout. Arkansas kept its one-point lead (21-20) at the 8-minute timeout.
• The game was tied, 30-30, with 2:46 to play in the first half, but the Hogs went on a 12-3 run to take a 42-33 lead into the locker room. During the run, Mason Jones made a 3-pointer, Jimmy Whitt hit a jumper in the lane, Jones made a 4-pioint play and Desi Sills hit a triple at time expired in the first half.
• Desi Sills and Mason Jones led the Razorbacks, each with 11 points.
• Isaiah Joe led the team with four rebounds and Jalen Harris had four assists.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas’ five-guard lineup propels team to win.
• Arkansas withstood a 0-for-9 spell (and 1-of-12) but never surrendered the lead. The Aggies got to within two before Jimmy Whitt ended the dry spell with a jumper at the free throw line at 9:52 for a 52-48 lead.
• The teams only combined to go 0-of-1 from the free throw line over the final 8:18. Josh Nebo took the only free throw attempt.
• Joe scored 11 points over the final 8:18. The Aggies scored 11 points over the final 8:18.
• Arkansas’ starting lineup was Jimmy Whitt (G) – Isaiah Joe (G) – Desi Sills (G) – Mason Jones (G) – Adrio Bailey (F) for the 12th time this season.
• Texas A&M won the tip. It was the seventh time in 13 games the opponent won the tip. Arkansas is 7-0 in such games.
• Texas A&M’s Savion Flagg scored the first points of the game, a banked 3-pointer as the shot clock expired at 19:39. Mason Jones scored Arkansas’ first points, a 3-pointer from the top of the key. He has scored the Razorbacks’ first points five times this season.
• The sellout crowd of 19,200 was the largest at Bud Walton Arena since Dec. 3, 2016 versus Austin Peay with a crowd of 19,483.
• Arkansas snapped a streak of two games when it trailed at the half (Valpo and Indiana). Arkansas is 9-0 when leading at the half this season.
• Isaiah Joe now has 163 career 3-pointers made. He moves to eighth on the school’s all-time list.
• This was Jalen Harris’ 23rd game as a Razorback with at least five assists and his 11th without a turnover.
• Desi Sills scored in double figures for the second straight game and this sixth of the season. He was 1-of-4 from 3-point range and is shooting 35.5% (11-of-31) from 3-point range over his last six games. He started the season 2-of-20 (6.7%).
• Jimmy Whitt Jr., scored in double figures for the 10th time this season.
• Arkansas is the only team in the SEC to feature three players ranked among the top 20 in scoring, including Mason Jones, Isaiah Joe and Jimmy Whitt.
• This was just the second time this season four Razorbacks scored in double figures.