At the beginning of the season there were a few unknowns about this Razorback team. With ten newcomers on the rosters, would they be able to become a cohesive unit or would they struggle early on? To this point, they have not. Fresh off a 122-81 victory over a stout one-loss Florida International team, the Razorbacks went on the road to Colorado State for a prime time matchup in The Rockies.
Early on, it was the Mason Jones show. Jones has three early threes to help Arkansas take a commanding 12-2 lead early on in the ball game. Arkansas showed no fear in their first road game with several of the new faces showing up and showing out.
Jalen Harris: 8 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds
Mason Jones: 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists
Isaiah Joe: 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists
Reggie Chaney: 13 points, 8 rebounds
K. Embrey-Simpson: 14 points, 2 rebounds
Desi Sills: 8 points
These six guys are really starting to come along and become a great nucleus around a team considered to only be a one trick pony early on with Daniel Gafford. Wrong! Gafford scored his first basket early in the second half with the Razorbacks up by 21. Are you kidding? When the Hogs lost to Texas with a big game from Gafford, many said the Hogs will live and die by Daniel Gafford and many were wrong. Chaney has come along solid the last two games alongside Adrio Bailey when Gafford has been ineffective or in foul trouble. Sills and Embrey-Simpson have also started to play at a higher level the past two games, too.
Harris has become quite the stat stuffer while the Joe and Jones Law Firm have become quite the duo on the outside while also effective from inside with a solid jumper by Joe and the relentless physicality from Jones. These three could make a push throughout the season as the best backcourt in the SEC.
Here are some more stats from other Hogs:
Daniel Gafford: 12 points, 9 rebounds
Adrio Bailey: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Gabe Osabuohein: 5 points, 5 rebounds
It was a game of runs last night between the Hogs and Rams, Arkansas went up 12-2 in the first minutes, with two separate 9-0 runs as well in the first half. Then, Arkansas went on a 22-11 run in the first five minutes of the second half. Then Colorado State came roaring back with a 17-2 run to cut the Arkansas lead to 9 with twelve minutes left in the half. Arkansas took a timeout and then immediately went on a 13-0 run to take their lead back to 20+.
The Rams (4-5) are giving up 80 points per game currently, while their defense allowed Arkansas to shoot at a 52% clip and score 57 points on their homecourt in the second half. We let our success on offense determine, as a team and individually, how we’re going to play defense. The good teams, it’s the other way around,” Rams coach, Niko Medved said. “We have to change that quickly if this is going to change.”
A key to Arkansas’ success on its tournament teams is having a deep bench. The Hogs has 22 points in the first half off the bench with 38 scored through the whole game. This young roster showed they were ready for the semesters first road test and Arkansas coach, Mike Anderson had them ready.
Arkansas shot 52% for the game and 50% from beyond the arc. Mason Jones was yet again player of the game with his 16 points and physical play. Jones brings a lot to the table for this young Razorback team and he will only help push them to be better as well. He was definitely a great JUCO pickup by Coach Anderson. Jones finished 4-8 from 3 and 5-10 in field goals alone.
Sophomore transfer point gaurd, Jalen Harris is showing just how valuable of a facilitator he is in the Anderson #Fastest40 system. He finished with 12 assists and 8 points that included a POWERFUL dunk off an assist by Reggie Chaney. Harris also had a beautiful #SCTop10 no-look pass to Adrio Bailey for a score as well. When asked about the monumental run by the Rams, “We just had to lock back in. We were playing like the game was over. It wasn’t.” Harris said. With Gafford our early with foul trouble it made Arkansas have to play a majority of the second half without him, “They tried to make us win without Dan in the first half. We showed we could do that,” Harris said. “When he got back in, they had to play honest so when they doubled, it opened up for everybody else.”
After coming off a 34 point and SEC Player of the Week performance, freshman, Isaiah Joe finished with 14 points going 5-12 from the field and 4-9 beyond the arc.
For the game, Arkansas finished with 28 assists, 8 steals and 6 blocks and forced 9 Colorado State turnovers to Arkansas’ 7. Again, Arkansas’ bench came up big last night with 38 points versus the Rams. “That’s the best our bench has played. The potential is there,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “I’m glad to see those guys starting to play with more confidence.”
For the first time since 1974, Arkansas will meet Western Kentucky and it will be played at Bud Walton Arena this Saturday at 2:30 on the SEC Network.
For those of you who missed the ball game on television like I did. (Did not have CBS Sports). You can catch a detailed highlight video of the game from WarMachine013 on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo4stFinfJg