BROOKLYN - Arkansas had no answer for Georgia Tech's Charles Mitchell and he carved the Razorbacks up on Thanksgiving.
The 6-8, 256-pound Mitchell, who transferred in from Maryland, had 18 points and 18 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech to a 83-73 win in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off opening semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Barclays Center.
Marques Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith each had 19 points and Ben Lammers 10 for the Yellowjackets (4-1), who advance to meet Villanova Thursday at 2 p.m. CST in the championship game.
"I don't know if that has ever happend against one of my teams, a guy getting 18 and 18," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "But give them credit. They took advantage of it. I thought our lack of physicality was very evident and they took advantage of us."
Dusty Hannahs had 17 points, Anthlon Bell 14, foul-plagued Moses Kingsley 13 points and 9 rebounds and Jimmy Whitt 10 for the Razorbacks (2-2), who were pounded 50-26 on the boards.
The Razorbacks shot 56 percent from the field in the first half, but still trailed 41-38 entering intermission and ended up shooting 43.3 percent from the field overall.
"Congratulations to Georgia Tech," Anderson said. "I thought they came out and established they were going to attack the glass on us and I didn't think that we did a very good job of keeping them off the boards.
"When you give a team 18 (offensive) rebounds and give them 26 second-chance points, you normally get blown out, but that means we did some other good things. One thing was we made some shots early on, knocked some shots down.
"We also left some free throws on the line and turned the ball over, just unforced turnovers that led to baskets for them. It seemed like we were just continuing to play uphill, but that is the learning curve for our basketball team."
It was the first non-home game for Arkansas, who had played its previous three games at home, and will meet Stanford at 11:30 a.m. CST on Friday.
Villanova downed Stanford 59-45 in the second game of the day.
"We finally got away from home in a nuetral setting against a good Georgia Tech team that has been playing well and their experience versus our inexperience was very evident," Anderson said. "This team will continue to grow and learn how to win, especially in games of that nature."
Arkansas fell down 26-16 in the first half only to go onto a 19-5 run to take a 35-33 lead.
"We were just pushing the ball and we were getting stops, too," Bell said. "During that period of time, we were rebounding the balll real good and getting it and getting easy buckets in transition and that is something that we need to continue to do throughout the game."
Hannahs - who is now 13-of-18 from 3-point range this season and 16-of-16 from the free throw line this season - and Bell both hit a pair of 3-pointers during that run.
"I thought we had a lot of energy and were moving around well in our press," Hannahs said. "I think there was a couple of costly turnovers during that run that could have really helped us."
The Razorbacks did the same thing after falling down 10 in the second half and rallying to within 55-53.
"We batled and we got back within striking distance within two or three points, but we would get to the free throw line with a chance to cut it and never get it done. Obviously we know that we have some shortcomings and we have got to shore those up."
Georgia Tech had coach Brian Gregory was pleased with the win in a game where his team had 16 turnovers, but the dominant board advantage.
"We knew that we were going to have to play extremely well for 40 minutes and keep out concentration and our effort and energy level up becuase that is the way that Arkansas plays," Gregory said. "They take advantage of every time that you don't do that and that is exactly what they did this afternoon.
"But to our guys credit, we responded well to some of the runs Arkansas made. It is a tough team to play against because they force your conentration on every single play offensively and defensively with our guys and pleased with their response.
"Nobody was better today than Charles. He has got himself in shape and he is able to play 32 minutes now and is able to do a lot of different things on the court for us. I am just really pleased for our seniors to be able to advance and play in very prestigious tournament and have a chance to play tomorrow in the championship."
Gregory thought he could have had 20 rebounds.
"Chuck has always been a great offensive rebounder because he just goes," Gregory said. "He's got a hunger and a pretty good feel. He has not been a great defensive rebounder because it's a different dynamic."
Mitchell, who had13 of his points and nine of his rebounds by halftime, said that he just played with a lot of energy.
"Just energy plays," Mitchell said. "I'm just trying to give my team second-chance possessions."
Kingsley had just two points and two rebounds at halftime and went to the bench early with his second foul. He played much better in the final 20 minutes before fouling out.
"We missed him in the first half," Anderson said. "This team doesn't have a whole lot of margin for error. When you have guys not playing well for you that can really affect our team. In the second half, I thought we really attack the basket, got to the free throw line."
Josh Heath, the son of former Arkansas head coach Stan Heath, had four points and five assists in the game. He tranferred in from South Florida after his dad was let go as the head coach there.
"He has been great for us," Gregory said. "He is a coach's son. He is not going to wow you with stats or anything like that, but again our two point guards in Josh and Travis (Jorgensen) had nine assists and two turnovers. That is kind of how they have played.
"...Obviously his father and I go back a long way as assistants together at Michigan State. I thought Stan did a great job at Arkansas. Not many guys make it to the NCAA Tournament and then need to find a job.
"Josh speaks very fondly of his time there. This was an important game for him because there is a little heartstring situation going on that and I was pleased for him."
Arkansas will play again Friday at 11:30 CST when it faces the loser of the Villanova-Stanford game.
Razorback sophomore forward Trey Thompson injured his ankle in the first half and did not return. He is wearing a boot to help it heal.
"It was an ankle," Anderson said. "He rolled it pretty good."
Marques Georges-Hunt shoots over Arkansas freshman Jimmy Whitt
Adam Smith shoots over Jabril Durham