FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – Arkansas is, without a doubt, the best team in the Summit League. Now if only the Razorbacks played in that conference.
Arkansas beat North Dakota State on Tuesday night, 71-55, just a few weeks after knocking off the Summit League favorites, Fort Wayne. The Razorbacks needed a second-half run to do it, but at this point, that’s the norm. And who cares, anyway.
North Dakota State went on a 1 for 12 stretch midway through the first half and Arkansas could only stretch its lead to seven points in that span. When the run of ignominy was over, Arkansas’ lead was just four.
Another drought, one in which North Dakota State went more than four minutes without scoring, was too much for the Bison to overcome. Arkansas took advantage of that one, breaking a 29-all tie with a 16-0 run that ended only when Paul Miller made a pair of free throws. By that point, there was only 12:38 left and Bison faced a a deficit almost as large as the total amount of points they scored in the first half (15 to 21).
Arkansas’ 71 points were tied for the fewest it has scored this season and no one individual had a glamorous line. In fact, the first 25 minutes or so were about as yawn-inducing as most of the Texas game from the weekend. Moses Kingsley was the first Arkansas player to hit double figures scoring and that didn’t come until his tip-in with less than six minutes left in the game.
Sexiness matters little as Arkansas’ main concern is racking up nonconference wins before SEC play begins. And that’s soon. The Razorbacks host Sam Houston State on Thursday in North Little Rock for the last nonconference game of 2016. One final game, at Oklahoma State, comes in January as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Stat line of the game
A win, but take your pick on either of two negative stats Arkansas has to clean up.
The Razorbacks lost the turnover game, 16-15, and shot just 39 percent. It was a bit of a lazy effort offensively, though nothing that should cause huge concern going forward.
That 16-0 run was the proverbial dagger. Without it, obviously, the game is much closer.
Dusty Hannahs made two 3-pointers and a jumper and Daryl Macon had a 3, too, to do the most damage in the stretch. Macon finished with a team-high 15 points and went 3 of 5 from range. Hannahs cracked double digits with his deep 3 seconds before the final buzzer.
North Dakota State
vs Sam Houston State (in North Little Rock)