Larger Crowd Boosts Hogs’ Energy

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At halftime of the Arkansas-Austin Peay basketball game Saturday night fans scattered around the upper deck of Bud Walton Arena were encouraged to find an empty seat in the lower bowl of the facility. The result was the most energy to date from Razorback fans this young season and the team seemed to respond.

Arkansas jumped a 41-31 halftime lead to a final score of 99-62. The Razorbacks appeared to solve some of the issues head coach Mike Anderson has been referring to following the Hogs previous six games. For instance, Governors head coach Dave Loos noted in his post game press conference that the home team played with a lot of energy throughout the game.

“They do the dirty work,” Loos said quietly. “They get after people. They get on the floor after loose balls. But rebounding was the thing that really did us in, I think.”

Arkansas did out rebound the visitors to the tune of 47 to 31. But Anderson was quick to point out his team’s improved defense, mentioning its nine steals, 25 points off turnovers and 37% shooting from the visitors.

“I thought we were really engaged defensively,” Anderson told reporters. “We were rotating on point. By the end of the game we had 45 deflections. That’s probably the most we’ve had all year long.”

Those deflections lead to nine steals and 25 points off turnovers. Junior college transfer Jaylen Barford was back in the starting lineup. Barford scored 12 points with two steals and four assists but gave much of the credit for the 37 point victory to the play of senior big man Moses Kingsley. Kingsley had a solid all around game with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.

“Once he gets the ball, a lot of great things happen and once we start inside out a lot of great things happen,” Barford said of Kingsley. “So getting Mo involved which leads back to the defense. It makes him block more shots and get more rebounds and we’re out and running.”

Anderson was also happy with the play of his bench which has been a problem at times earlier this season. Arkansas’ bench scored 55 points to just 12 for the visitors.

“The people on the bench decided, if we’re going to get in we’re going to bring the energy and try to boost us back up,” freshman guard Adrio Bailey explained. Bailey came of the bench to lead  his team in scoring with 14. He also added seven rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal. “We just decided to keep our foot on the petal and not just let up,” Bailey added. “Just keep our foot on the petal. Don’t let them get nuthin.’ “

“We’re a team that has eight or nine starters,” Anderson noted in reference to yet another starting lineup change for the game. “I think it started (defensive intensity) with that group (starters Barford, Kingsley, Dustin Thomas, Daryl Macon and Manuale Watkins) and  then of course the next group came in and added to it even more so. We had (Arlando) Cook out there. We had Trey (Thompson), Adrio, Dusty (Hannahs) and Anton (Beard).

“They were like blue-collar too,” Anderson added. “To me it was like the blue-collar group and another blue-collar group coming out there and their defense was very, very effective.”   




 

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