Those were not your father’s Connecticut Huskies. Of course, that’s little matter to the Arkansas basketball team. They want wins over all comers.
Easy enough on Sunday afternoon. The Razorbacks beat UConn, 102-67, to take third-place in the Victory Bracket at the PK80 in Portland, Oregon. Arkansas moves to 5-1 to start the season after a 2-1 showing at the tournament.
UConn never stood a chance. Arkansas opened its lead to as many as 20 in the first half. When the Huskies mounted a minor comeback early in the second, trimming the lead to just eight, the Razorbacks countered with a 19-0 run. The lead was built to 23 at the under-12 timeout. It grew to 31 with under 10 play.
Jaylen Barford was a big reason why. He had, arguably, his best game of the season. Barford dropped 24 points on 9 of 12 shooting. His fellow senior backcourt mate, Daryl Macon, had another 16. CJ Jones added another 19. Macon’s status was questionable entering the game after suffering an ankle injury Saturday against North Carolina.
Connecticut simply didn’t have the bodies. Arkansas dominated every statistical category of importance. Most signifcantly the Razorbacks handled UConn on the glass, outrebounding Kevin Ollie’s team 42-26.
The win is Arkansas’ first-ever in five tries against the Huskies. It also caps a decent week which saw the Razorbacks beat a likely NCAA Tournament team in Oklahoma, as well. The pockmark was against the Tar Heels, who won by 19 points in the semifinals, setting up Arkansas’ game against Connecticut, which were picked fifth in the American Athletic Conference after a 16-17 record last year, the school’s first losing season in 30 years.
It is unlikely Arkansas is ranked in either the Associated Press or Coaches Polls that are released Monday after receiving the 39th-most voting points in last week’s.
The put-away gear.
Arkansas hadn’t really had one against a major or mid-major conference opponet yet this year. Dominant games against Bucknell and Samford were different. It was positive for Arkansas’ future to see the Razorbacks put the hammer down on UConn.
The foul trouble continus for Daniel Gafford. The freshman fouled out in 14 miutes. Connecticut has almost zero interior play, too. At some point this will have to be fixed.
What’s next for Arkansas?
Saturday, December 2
6:30 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network