With one game remaining until conference play begins, the Razorbacks come into their match with the Austin Peay Governors still with questions to answer. When the season began, most felt they would either surprise or demand patience. Through eleven games, it has been a mix of both. After a close 73-70 win against Texas State, Coach Mike Anderson is looking to get his guys back on a winning streak against the top team in the Ohio Valley conference.
Through the first seven games the Razorbacks averaged 87 points per game, and have since dropped to 74 in their last four contests. They have struggled when teams have given them zone looks, and they have also shown signs of desperation trying to shoot outside on too many occasions when the looks aren’t there. Sophomore Forward Daniel Gafford (17.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG) is one of the nation’s most well-known players and that has become more clear this season. It does not all go through him, though. Despite many new faces on this years’ squad, we have seen major contribution from guards Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones, and Jalen Harris. Joe has gotten a lot of attention for his shooting and is hitting 44.7% from 3-point range. Jones took over in the Texas State game, a contest the Hogs probably would not have won without his heroics, is just under 16 PPG. Harris transferred in from New Mexico State and has made national headlines for his Assist to Turnover ratio, currently sitting at 10th in all of College Basketball (5.6). You also can not overlook the productivity we’ve has seen from the bench led by Reggie Chaney, Gabe Osabuohien, and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson.
True Freshman Guard Isaiah Joe. Photo by arkansasonline.com
Coach Matt Figger brings the 8-4 Governors into Bud Walton arena riding a 6-game win streak. Figger should be quite familiar with his surroundings Saturday seeing as he spent the 2007 season as an assistant under John Pelphrey on The Hill. The Governors are led by Sophomore Guard Terry Taylor (17.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG) along with Seniors Zach Glotta, Steve Harris, and Chris Porter-Bunton who all average double-digit PPG. The Hogs and Governors are almost identical in the team stats category, with the exception of blocks per game where the Hogs average 6.3 compared to the Governors’ 3.3.
The Razorbacks have one more shot at a non-conference game before they travel to Texas A&M for the first match of SEC play. As mentioned earlier, we knew this would be a season that would demand some patience and that has been tested especially as of recent. Getting their 9th win of the year against a scrappy Austin Peay quad this Saturday would be a great start going into a tough conference schedule.