Kingsley scores 24 to pace Arkansas past LSU, 99-86 (Jan 21, 2017)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Moses Kingsley was told by NBA scouts to work on his outside game when he briefly entered the NBA draft following last season.
The Arkansas center put that offseason of work on full display in a 99-86 win over LSU on Saturday night, scoring a season-high 24 points as the Razorbacks (15-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) won their third straight game.
Kingsley, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, was 10 of 18 from the field. It was how the 6-foot-10 center came about his points - including several long jumpers and his fifth 3-pointer of the season - that bolstered his confidence about an evolving long-distance game.
''I work on the shot every day after practice and coach encourages me to do that,'' Kingsley said. ''... It's not about me shooting, it's about spreading the floor so everybody else can drive, drive and kick and then make plays.''
Arkansas never trailed in the game, leading by 17 points in the second half before the Tigers (9-9, 1-6) cut that lead to six late in the game.
However, LSU was unable to get any closer on its way to losing a fifth straight game - the school's longest losing streak since a 10-game stretch during the 2010-11 season.
Skylar Mays had 22 points to lead the Tigers, while Duop Reath added 17 on 7-of-11 shooting. Brandon Sampson finished with 15 and Antonio Blakeney 14 for LSU, which lost despite shooting 66.7 percent (20 of 30) in the second half.
For Arkansas, which had five players score in double figures, Anton Beard matched his season best with 16 points. Daryl Macon added 15 points, while Dusty Hannahs and Jaylen Barford had 14 each.
The Razorbacks were 33 of 62 (53.2 percent) from the field, with much of that production coming from Kingsley. The Nigerian's previous season-best was a 19-point effort in a loss to Mississippi State, and he entered the game averaging only 11.7 points per game after scoring at a 15.9 clip a season ago.
He looked like his old self on Saturday, with the addition of the outside influence.
''He's really developed the range as far as shooting the basketball,'' Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ''He's always had a nice touch, but he's more comfortable with it. He's put the time in, and I commend him for becoming that.''
LSU: The defensive woes for the Tigers continued on Saturday. LSU entered the game allowing 86.5 points per game in SEC play, and they allowed Arkansas to match its season high of 99 points. ''It was very difficult for us to cut into the deficit, even when we got it going offensively,'' LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ''I didn't think we had enough on the defensive end of the floor to get stops and make it difficult for them.''
Arkansas: For a team desperate to reach the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in Anderson's six seasons, Kingsley's breakout performance comes at a much-needed time. The Razorbacks lost three of their first four SEC games, but they now have three wins in a row - with Kingsley nearly matching his career best of 26 points, set against Dayton in 2015.
Kingsley became the 40th player in Arkansas history to top the 1,000-point mark in the second half on Saturday. He now had 1,001 points in his career, doing so despite averaging 4.0 points as a freshman and 3.6 as a sophomore.
LSU hosts No. 19 Florida on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks are at Vanderbilt on Tuesday.