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Arkansas Razorbacks 89, High Point Panthers 48: Beautiful Basketball


Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Line 'em up and knock 'em down.

That's what Arkansas has had to do with all these non-conference games, and with one more to go, for the most part they've made it look pretty easy. Just another routine blowout.

Much like the last few games at Bud Walton, it felt like this game was over as soon as the ball was tipped.

Arkansas jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first six minutes of the game and it was a roll from that point on and built a 42-23 halftime lead, but it was such a balanced effort that none of the Hogs had more than 7 points at the break. Ten different Razorbacks scored in the first half, and 12 of the team's 15 first half field goals came off assists.

There's been a lot written about the improved chemistry of this team and how well they're gelling together, but there may be no better example of that than the 12 assists/15 field goals stat. They were passing on fast breaks, they were passing through the post, even Rickey Scott zipped a laser from the top of the key down to Bobby Portis on the block for a layup. They finished with 22 assists on 34 field goals. They shot 51.5% from the field, which is easier to do when good ball movement gets shooters in good positions. It was fantastic.

High Point's best player, forward John Brown, came in averaging 18.7 points per game but the Razorbacks effectively shut him down, holding him to nine points in 25 minutes. Brown had just three points and committed two turnovers in the first half.

Bobby Portis led the team with 16 points and nine rebounds. Michael Qualls had 12 points and a couple of really spectacular dunks that may put him on SportsCenter Top 10 for the fourth time this season. The second of those slams came on a great play that started with a pesky backcourt steal by Kikko Haydar, who appeared to have a clear path to the basket but gave the ball up to Qualls for the dunk in traffic.

Anthlon Bell hit a pair of threes in the second half en route to his 11 points. Hopefully that's a sign his shooting touch is coming back just in time for conference play. Coty Clarke also had 11 points and Moses Kingsley had 12 and nine rebounds.

The long-awaited Portis/Kingsley on the court together at the same time moment finally happened. Although nothing too spectacular resulted from the combination, it will be interesting to see how that develops going forward.

But for now, just one non-conference game remains. The Hogs take on UTSA next Saturday at Bud Walton and then finally, SEC play begins.