Skip to main content

Eric Musselman's 'Smart' Decision Pays Off in Upset

After trying to coach through the pain, the Hogs' coach kinda handed off to Keith Smart and it paid off Saturday

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman probably couldn't throw up both hands to finally have shoulder surgery.

The pain probably wouldn't let him do that.

But he knew what he had beside him on the bench in assistant Keith Smart and Musselman probably figured the team would be okay.

Playing the hardest 40 minutes of any team he coached in a blowout win over Missouri on Wednesday probably put him at ease going under the knife Thursday morning to repair a shoulder injury suffered over a month ago.

Smart made some key decisions Saturday that made the difference in the Razorbacks' 65-58 upset win over LSU.

A big part of it was managing the Hogs down the stretch.

Keith Smart-LSU

Arkansas interim coach Keith Smart directing team during Saturday's upset win over LSU.

"A good friend of mine that’s with the New York Knicks, and he’s almost like a breathologist," Smart said later. "I’ve always used his technique on breathing. I called a timeout and I just told those guys to breathe."

In simple terms, he told them to simply relax.

"Forget about what just happened and breathe," Smart told the team after calling a timeout. "Because I need you to get some clarity in your mind right now and that really helped."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

While turnovers went up against the Tigers (19), they only gave up 13 points on that but an emphasis on three-point defense the last couple of games apparently is starting to work.

"We just went back into our Rolodex and said this is gonna be a game where our coverage normally is this but we're going to switch because we got to kill this three," Smart said.

Davonte Davis-LSU

Arkansas' Davonte Davis guarding LSU's Tari Eason during Saturday's game at LSU.

They held the Tigers just just 5-of-19 beyond the arc (26.3%) and forced 16 turnovers.

That let the Hogs out-score LSU 20-13 in points off turnovers.

It could have been just one of those interesting stats.

Or it could have been part of a "Smart" decision.

Graphix look back at Hogs' football

Want to join in on the discussion? Click here to become a member of the allHOGS message board community today!

Follow allHOGS on Twitter and Facebook.