FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – There is getting off on the right foot to start a season and then there is what Arkansas did to Samford on Friday night.
The Razorbacks had zero issue on their regular-season opener against the Bulldogs in a 95-56 win. Arkansas led by as many as 30 points in the first half and simply overpowered, overwhelmed and ultimately outclassed Samford in every single aspect. Coach Mike Anderson’s team was just bigger, stronger and faster.
Daryl Macon, who pulled his name out of consideration for the NBA Draft this summer, was the best player on the court and it wasn’t close. He dropped 16 points, shot 5 of 9 from the floor and 4 of 7 from 3-point range. His first three from deep were all net and buried Samford within the first several minutes.
Arkansas’ bigs chipped in offensively here and there. Not exactly known for their range, the Razorbacks’ frontcourt players had eight dunks. A good sign. Most came easily against a smaller, thinner and less-athletic team.
Macon nearly outscored Samford by himself at the half. He had 14 to Samford’s 19 as the Hogs led 47-19 at the break. No comeback ensued after a 27 percent-shooting and 11-turnover first half for the Bulldogs.
Senior forward Dustin Thoams did not play as he continued to serve a suspension for a violation of team rules. Coach Mike Anderson played all three of his healthy freshmen. Khalil Garland remains inactive because of an undisclosed medical condition. It’s unlikely, albeit possible, he plays this year.
Arkansas had six players in double figures. Adrio Bailey finished with a career-high 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Macon and Jaylen Barford led with 16 points apiece. Anton Beard had 14. Freshmen Daniel Gafford and CJ Jones had 10 each.
Samford was not good at anything Friday. In the first game of the season, it’s hard to tell how much of it was rust and jitters, how much is the Bulldogs simply not being a very good team, and how much was the Razorbacks playing out of their minds.
The way football has been going, it didn’t matter to the 8,000 or so in attendance. It was just nice for them to be on the giving end of a whipping for the first time in a long time.
Liquid. The Razorbacks were smooth. Didn’t matter if it came against Samford. The way Arkansas played Friday night would have looked good against anyone.
Macon was demonstrative early. The dunks (12 total) fired up the roster and the crowd. Arkansas shot 40 percent from deep (9 of 22).
Practically nothing went wrong.
Gafford fouled out. No big deal Friday night against a crummy team. But that was a big question mark with him in the preseason. Bears watching going forward.
That’s nit-picking this game, though.
What’s next for Arkansas?
Sunday, Nov. 10