A common “struggle” theme for Arkansas in the past three games has been the Razorbacks’ inability to solve, attack, and score against zone defenses. Specifically, the offense has sputtered while: a) trying to play inside-out through Gafford, b) not finding creases and driving lanes, and c) not maximizing opportunities to pass into (and attack from) the high-post/free-throw-line-extended and the baseline.
“I don’t like it,” Anderson said of his team’s two-game home skid that followed an overall six-game winning streak. “No. 1, I don’t like it. I know that. But at the same time, leaving last night I was very disappointed. When I think about this team and all the new pieces … they’re learning on the job. They’re thrust into a situation where they’ve got to learn, and the games are going to get tougher and tougher. So they’ve got to learn to really just grind it out. People have scouting reports. They’re going to get after Daniel. They’re going to push him around and he’s got to be able to counter that. I think you’ve just got to make the adjustment as teams come at you. They’re challenging Isaiah. They’re getting after him a little bit, which is good. I think you learn how to play, because that’s what we’re going to see in the SEC. Jalen Harris, I think he’s got to continue to shoot the basketball. He’s getting good shots. They’re backing off of him.
“But more importantly I just think the energy and the effort, sometimes when you have a little success, complacency sets in. And I think with this team here, they’ve got to understand every game’s a big game.”
Arkansas’s strength has been its defense, although that end of the floor has been a bit up and down of late for the Hogs. Still, Arkansas is yielding 38.6% opposition field goal shooting (including 30.1% from 3) while forcing 16.8 turnovers per game (Hogs’ are plus-3.4 per contest) and winning steals/blocks decisively (plus-60 on the season).
Gafford leads Arkansas in scoring (17.5 points per game, which is third in the SEC), rebounding (9.2, second in the SEC), blocks (2.3, third in the SEC), and field goal percentage (66.7%, tops in the SEC). Joe is second on the team in scoring (16.4 points, which is 6th in the SEC), first on the team and in the SEC in 3-pointers made (41), second in the SEC in 3-point percentage (46.1%), and tied for first on the team in steals (1.2). Harris leads the SEC in assists (7.2 per game), his 72 assists to 11 turnovers is among the best in the natioan, and he leads the team in free throw percentage (81.6%, which is 7th in the SEC). Jones is third on the team in scoring (13.8 points), second in rebounds (5.4), and second in assists (3.1) while shooting a solid 41.9% from 3.
Leading the second unit for the Razorbacks through 10 games is Chaney (16.9 minutes, 5.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 55.1% field goals) and freshman guard Desi Sills of Jonesboro (15.3 minutes, 5.4 points, 1.7 assists, 1.4 rebounds, 52.9% field goals including 38.9% from 3).
Texas State is led by junior guard Nijal Pearson, who’s averaging 19.9 points (on 50.3% field goal shooting, including 36-of-73 from 3 for 49.3%), 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals in 31.9 minutes per game. Senior guard Tre’Larenz Nottingham is averaging 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds. 2.7 assists, and 1.1 steals in 27.5 minutes. Senior forward Alex Peacock is averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists.
As a team the Bobcats average 76 points, 18 assists, 7 steals, and 3 blocks per game while shooting 47.5% field goals, 35.6 3-point field goals, and 73.0% free throws.
Hog food for Hog thought …