The Razorbacks pulled away toward the end of the game for the comfortable win, but Northwestern State did keep the game close early on in the second half. Kikko Haydar, like he did in Arkansas' previous game in Bud Walton, knocked down a big three to swing momentum back to Arkansas' side for good.
This was the most complete game of BJ Young's career, as the sophomore led the team with 26 points, recorded a double-double with 13 rebounds (6 offensive), dished 7 assists, and collected 2 steals for good measure. Mardracus Wade was the only other Razorback in double figures with 17 points. Wade and Young were also the only players to spend over 30 minutes in the game.
Here's the press release from UA:
FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore BJ Young recorded a double-double in the University of Arkansas basketball team’s win over the Northwestern State Demons, 79-61, at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday. The Razorback defense put up a stellar performance against a Demon offense that ranks second in the country in scoring offense, holding it to a season low 61 points.
Young concluded the evening with his second career double-double and his first of this season with 26 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Young was just three assists away from knocking down the first triple-double of his career as he finished with seven assists. Sophomore Hunter Mickelson also picked up a career-high 13 rebounds and a season-high four blocks. Mardracus Wade, who had a standout first half, scored a season-high 17 points and a team-high four steals.
"The defense was excellent," head coach Mike Anderson said. "It was the difference in the game. We did a great job rebounding with a lot of guys going to the boards. The key is rebounds and that was better tonight."
Along with some strong individual performances the Razorbacks (8-4) combined for some impressive stats as well as they out-rebounded NSU (5-4) 57-41. The Razorbacks also nabbed 48 points in the paint.
In the opening minutes of the first half it was Wade who was shooting lights out from the field going 3-3 for eight points, two assists and two steals by the time the first timeout was taken to help put Arkansas up 12-7 early. Later the Demons would hold the Hogs scoreless for four minutes, but the Razorback defense limited Northwestern State to just four points during that time as the Demons stayed close with just a 19-13 deficit. It was Wade again that brought the Razorback crowd to its feet when he took the ball down the court with 35 seconds remaining with a fake at the end to throw off a Demon defender and he dropped in a layup for the last Razorbacks score of the half.
The Razorbacks were able to contain the Demon offense to just 29 first half points as the Razorbacks entered the locker room up 36-29.
The beginning of the second half the Razorbacks came out with a bang, extending their seven-point lead to 10 at multiple times, but Arkansas would let the Demons inch closer trimming the Hog lead to just three, 47-44. The three-point margin was short-lived as junior Kikko Haydar drained a three-pointer to make the score 50-44.It was all Arkansas from that point forward as the Razorbacks put on a show for the fans as they finished the game on a 20-8 run, while grabbing a 20-point lead with 1:31 remaining after Wade knocked down a pair of free throws to make the score 79-59.
"Our bench, depth and conditioning paid off tonight," Anderson said. "That is a step for this team. Our emphasis was on finishing the game off and we did that."
Arkansas would take the victory in their final game of 2012 by a final score of 79-61.
The Razorbacks face Delaware State in their next contest on Saturday, Jan. 5, at Bud Walton Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday The game will be televised on RSN.