FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas fell to 0-4 on the road and 2-6 in Southeastern Conference play with its 88-74 loss at LSU on Saturday.
But the ongoing woes aren’t the extent of the Razorbacks’ problems.
Guard Michael Qualls and forward Alandise Harris were suspended indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to Arkansas. The Razorbacks announced the suspensions a few hours before they played the Tigers, leaving Arkansas without its third- and fourth-leading scorers.
“All of our student-athletes are held to a high standard and everyone is accountable for their actions,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said in the statement. “We are trying to build the ultimate team and everyone has to be on board to make that happen. Our expectations of our student-athletes is that they reflect positively on themselves and our program at all times and that they enter each day as a Razorback with a positive attitude that helps us continue to grow this program.”
Qualls is averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. Harris is averaging 9.1 points and 3.6 rebounds. Both had struggled in SEC play, although Qualls was coming off a 16-point performance in the 75-71 loss to Missouri on Tuesday.
Anderson would not elaborate on the reasons behind the suspension during an interview with Arkansas’ pregame radio show or in his postgame press conference with the media in Baton Rouge. He also didn’t offer a timeline for their return, saying that “remains to be seen once we get back” during the pregame radio show.
“It was a decision that I had to make,” Anderson added during a postgame interview posted on KNWA’s website. “I’d do it again. I’m about the team. I’m about this team — this team at this point and as we move on throughout the season.”
Arkansas struggled early without them Saturday, falling behind by as much as 20 points in the first half. The suspensions left Arkansas relying on a 10-player rotation with reserves like Kikko Haydar (22 minutes), Moses Kingsley (19) and Mardracus Wade (13) and Rickey Scott (9) earning more playing time in their absence.
The Razorbacks managed to cut LSU’s 20-point lead to six when Wade made a 3-pointer with 4:53 remaining, but couldn’t crawl any closer.
“When adversity takes place, you find out a little bit more about your basketball team,” Anderson said on Arkansas’ postgame radio show. “Obviously, we’ve got some members that are not here. But instead of our guys just kind of wallowing in pity they came out and fought.”