The 24th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks were not out to rack up style points against Hofstra on Saturday at Simmons Bank Arena, they were simply looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season with a win. As it turns out, the Hogs swung and missed again, losing their second second consecutive game, 89-81, as the Pride came into central Arkansas to claim their first win over a ranked team in three tries this season.
Hofstra (7-5) was led by former Hog big man Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola, who finished with a double-double (18 points and 14 rebounds).
The Pride, playing without leading scorer Zach Cooks, expanded a late 66-64 lead by closing the game with a 23-17 scoring advantage. Hofstra guards Aaron Estrada and Jalen Ray tied for game-high scoring honors with 22 points each.
Senior guards JD Notae (20 points) and Chris Lykes (19 points) were the only two double-figure scorers for Arkansas.
The Hogs (9-2) failed to put their embarrassing 22-point loss to Oklahoma a week ago in Tulsa behind them. After winning 17 consecutive regular-season games bridging parts of the last two seasons, Arkansas has now lost back-to-back games for the first time since mid-January of the 2020-21 campaign.
“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,” said Arkansas’ Eric Musselman, who coached first-year Hofstra head coach Speedy Claxton at Golden State during the ’03-04 NBA season. “Baybe (Iyiola) dominated us just off effort quite frankly. I’d love to tell you guys a better answer.”
Hofstra came in with an efficient volume three-point shooting arsenal that was ranked in the top 20 in Division 1, and despite hitting only 7-of-22 for 31.8% from distance, the Pride were 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 the Hogs’ 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.”
The matchup against Hofstra was technically a neutral-site game, and Arkansas slipped to 2-2 in contests played outside their home of Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Arkansas dropped to 12-10 all-time in games played in North Little Rock.
Now in his third season at Arkansas, Musselman fell to 8-5 in non-conference games played away from BWA, and he’s lost back-to-back non-conference games for the first time as Head Hog. He’s 54-21 overall leading the Razorbacks, which includes a 32-5 record against non-conference opponents as well as a 27-2 mark against low-to-mid-major NCAA Division 1 foes.
Arkansas fell to 2-1 in its all-time series against Hofstra. The Pride came in with two down-to-the-wire road losses against ranked teams in November (83-75 in overtime against then-No. 15 Oklahoma on Nov. 9 and 69-67 against then-No. 20 Maryland on Nov. 19).
Next up for Arkansas is a non-conference game at home against Elon on Tuesday, Dec. 21, before the Razorbacks open up SEC play on the road against Mississippi State on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
Musselman started the quintet of KK Robinson, Stanley Umude, Davonte “Devo” Davis, Jaylin Williams, and Au’Diese Toney.
The Hogs led 13-10 when Hofstra cobbled together two 5-0 spurts to forge a 20-15 lead. The Pride later constructed an 11-3 run for their biggest lead, 38-28, late in the first half.
Hofstra led 40-32 at the break.