OPINION | WALLY HALL: Razorbacks kept Tigers, Wade cooled off

TAMPA, Fla. -- It has not been a good week for LSU basketball coach Will Wade.

First came the letter from the NCAA of allegations regarding the LSU basketball and football programs.

Wade's been on thin ice for two years after he was caught on an FBI wiretap talking about an offer to a recruit.

That gets you in trouble on the Bayou.

Losing to Arkansas three times in one season and being instrumental in the loss might get you gone.

In what was a pitiful shooting performance in the first half by both teams Friday at the SEC Tournament, LSU had squeaked ahead 26-23 when Razorback Chris Lykes drew a foul.

Wade disagreed with the call. Vehemently.

That got him a technical foul, and Lykes made all four free throws. He was so pumped that he made a steal and hit a jumper at the buzzer -- right in front of Wade -- to put the Razorbacks up 29-26 at intermission.

It also gave the Hogs momentum going into the second half.

Counting those final six points of the first half, the Razorbacks opened the second on a 13-0 run for a 19-0 burst and had the Tigers appearing to blame each other.

That may have started when Lykes made the steal and a LSU player didn't pursue. He gave up on the play.

Midway through the second half, Arkansas was leading 60-44 and it was obvious LSU's strategy changed.

They started attacking the basket and getting fouled.

The Tigers had a 6-0 run, all on free throws, before Au'Diese Toney got two free throws that LSU answered with a three to make it 62-53.

That's when the smallest man on the court, Lykes, became the biggest player.

Generously listed at 5-7, the senior transfer went on a personal 9-4 run that left the Tigers with a bunch of questions and no answers.

Lykes got a field goal, hit a long three in front of the Arkansas bench that might not have been cheering until it got all net. Then he went coast-to-coast for a layup, and with 3:06 left, added two more free throws for a 71-57 lead. It was obvious then that Arkansas was advancing to the SEC Tournament semifinals and would face Texas A&M today.

The Razorbacks have played the Aggies twice this season, and both games were tough.

In College Station, Texas, they lost 86-81 when the Aggies turned 18 Razorback turnovers into 28 points.

In the rematch at Bud Walton, the Razorbacks held on for a 76-73 win in overtime, but once again, had trouble protecting the ball and giving up 16 turnovers, 11 of them steals by the Aggies.

This will be the Aggies' third game in three days.

They beat Florida in overtime Thursday, and then shot lights out against Auburn on Friday, holding on down the stretch for a 67-62 win.

A&M made 8 of 16 threes against the No. 1-seeded Tigers.

What the Razorbacks and Aggies don't need is the same officiating crew that called the Arkansas-LSU game.

It wasn't one-sided. It was just inconsistent and a lot of blowing the whistle in anticipation of a foul.

Each team was called for 21 fouls. LSU made 27 of 31 free throws, and the Razorbacks made 25 of 31.

Arkansas did get 18 points off the bench, all from Lykes. Toney was a game-time decision because of an injury and the right decision was made.

Toney finished with a game high 22 points and had 10 rebounds, and he is considered a defensive stopper.

The Aggies, who have won six consecutive games, are attempting to become only the third team to win the SEC Tournament by winning four games in four days. Arkansas did it first in 2000, and Georgia did it in 2008 after Atlanta was hit by a tornado.

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