Arkansas junior guard Daryl Macon / ArkansasRazorbacks.com
The Arkansas Razorbacks made 12 steals and forced 23 turnovers Thursday on their way to a 78-62 victory over Stephen F. Austin at Bud Walton Arena.
The victory improved the Hogs’ record to 5-1 on the season while the Lumberjacks fell to 2-3.
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson was pleased overall with the Razorbacks’ defensive play. Since their loss to Minnesota on Nov. 22, the Hogs have made a concerted effort to turn up the intensity of their defense, and it paid dividends, as the Lumberjacks never found a rhythm.
“I thought our defense was the difference in this game, especially in the second half,” Anderson said. “We always have a motto of getting multiple stops. When you get stops, it gives you a cushion.”
However some careless play on the behalf of the Razorbacks saw that cushion deteriorate at various points in the second half before the Hogs would push the lead out again.
“In the second half, we went up and down, but we had some plays that were momentum changers,” Anderson said. “What we have to learn how to do is when we get a team down, to keep them down, no matter who we put in the game. We need to get more guys playing at a high level.”
Plays of the Game
Freshman forward Adrio Bailey brought the Hog fans on hand to their feet by throwing down a dunk off a fine assist by Manual Watkins with 8:36 left in the first half. The stuff gave the Razorbacks a 13-point lead.
Arkansas newcomers Daryl Macon and C.J. Jones make quite a pair, and they proved it by hooking up for back-to-back plays that stretched the Hogs’ lead from 8 to 11 points in the first half. Both times junior college transfer Macon set up freshman Jones for three-pointers, first with 10:20 left in the first half and next at 9:15. The treys were Jones’ only points of the night.
Player of the Game
Junior guard Anton Beard stuffed his stat line on a fairly balanced night for the Razorbacks. He scored 9 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, made 3 assists, and nabbed 4 steals in 23 minutes of playing time.
Eight Razorbacks scored between 6 and 15 points with Dusty Hannahs leading the way with 15. Moses Kingsley added 12, Beard and Dustin Thomas each had 9, Manuale Watkins and Jaylen Barford each had 8, Daryl Macon had 7 and C.J. Jones contributed 6.
Stat of the Game
The Lumberjacks suffered 21 turnovers against the Razorbacks intense pressure and 12 of the 21 came off Arkansas steals. Beard led the thievery with 4 steals. Watkins, Kingsley and Macon all had 2 steals. Hannahs and Barford each had a steal.
Chairman of the Boards
The Razorbacks outrebounded the Lumberjacks 29-25, and Watkins led the Hogs’ rebounding efforts with seven. Moses Kingsley grabbed 6.
Quote of the Game
“He is taking what the defense gives him,” Anderson said about Hannahs not making a three-pointer but still leading the Razorbacks in scoring with 15 points. “They are playing him hard so he’s getting to the free-throw line, and I think that shows his versatility. He is scoring in a different way. He got some baskets in transitions and some nice assists as well. Those kinds of plays do not go unnoticed. If you look at his development since he has been here, I think he has become a more versatile scorer.”
The Hogs play the third game of a five-game home stand at 7 p.m. Saturday against Austin Peay. The Razorbacks play host to old Southwest Conference rival Houston at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Arkansas plays host to North Florida at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 before taking a week off for final exams. The Razorbacks return to competition at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 when they play another former SWC opponent Texas at Houston.