FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas – A few flat-out smokings were anticipated for the Arkansas basketball team this nonconference season. One against a 20-win team from last season, though?
Arkansas did most everything right Monday night against Southern Illinois, straight demolishing the Salukis in the the second game of the season, 90-65.
The Razorbacks (2-0) looked more like a team in the middle of January instead of the middle of November. It was miles better than the season-opener Monday. Scoring was balanced and efficient, the 3-ball was on, defense was aggressive, but not too much so and rebounding was, well, it wasn’t great, but it was better.
Separate 20-6 and 18-2 runs in the first half were all anyone in the sparse crowd needed to see to tell Arkansas was in no trouble.
Good work tonight, fellas. ?
Southern Illinois 65 pic.twitter.com/kwXiM4rsgV
— Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) November 15, 2016
Right now, Arkansas is using its speed and athleticism to just out-run opponents. Three days after outscoring Fort Wayne, 24-0, on fast-break points, the coach Mike Anderson’s team beat Southern Illinois, 17-2, in the same stat. By the time there were 15 minutes left in the game, the Salukis looked absolutely gassed.
On a team stocked with seven players who weren’t on the roster last year, newcomers will be important all season long. The crew combined to score 42 points, grab 12 rebounds and dole out 11 assists.
The stiffest test of the early season comes Friday when Texas-Arlington, picked to win the Sun Belt, visits Bud Walton Arena.
Player of the game
Dusty Hannahs was flames. The best shooter in the nation – my honor bestowed upon him this summer – scored a game-high 19 points on 5 of 7 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range.
He won’t shoot that well every game, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him hit on about 45 percent from beyond the arc this season. He shot it at a 43 percent clip last year in knocking down 81 from deep.
Stat line of the game
Moses Kingsley isn’t scoring at the rate of a preseason Player of the Year yet, but that doesn’t mean his impact isn’t being felt.
From left to right, those are Kingsley’s points, field goal, 3-point, free throw, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, assists, fouls, turnover, blocks, steals, minutes and plus/minus.
Pretty impressive given the balance of the evening.
A 22-6 Arkansas run from the 16:26 mark to 10:16 was all she wrote. Six different Razorbacks players scored during the span, none of whom were named Moses Kingsley, who is the SEC preseason Player of the Year.
Freshman CJ Jones was the most impressive during the stretch. Jones, in his season debut because of ankle injury suffered earlier in the fall, had a highlight-reel dunk and 3 from the corner.
Arkansas vs. Texas-Arlington
Friday, 7 p.m.
Bud Walton Arena
UTA was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference basketball title this season.