The scouting report on Wake Forest is that they turn the ball over a lot and don't shoot a lot of threes. If you'd like a recipe for a perfect opponent for Arkansas, that would be it.
The game was slow and close for the first few minutes, tied at 10 with 13:20 left in the first half. Around that time, Arkansas subbed in a second wave of Hogs and they brought defensive intensity with them. Anton Beard dove to the floor to get a steal and managed to get the ball to Jabril Durham. Durham sprinted down the middle of the floor and lobbed the ball to Jacorey Williams for an alley-oop and the Hogs were completely off and running. They went on a 15-0 run over the next three minutes and the game was never within single digits again.
Probably the play of the game came when Bobby Portis picked the pocket of a Deacon coming into the lane, and took the ball coast-to-coast, crossing over another Wake Forest player in the process, and lobbed the ball to Michael Qualls streaking down the right side for another alley-oop. Seeing all 6'11" of Portis handling the ball like that was something special. It might be the best play he makes all year, but he's still got another 30 or so games to prove me wrong.
Beard had a really impressive game off the bench. Arkansas' freshman led the team at halftime with that steal and 8 points, six of which came on threes. He finished the game as one of six Razorbacks to score in double figures. Manuale Watkins also received plenty of praise for his performance, highlighted by four steals during that 15-0 run in the first half. He finished with five total steals and four rebounds.
Rashad Madden led the team with eleven points on 4-6 shooting. Portis scored 10 but it wasn't his best shooting night, as he went 5-12 from the floor and didn't make it to the free throw line. He did lead the team with 7 rebounds.
Rebounds were a big improvement for Arkansas over the last game against Alabama State. After being soundly beaten on the boards by the SWAC favorites, the Razorbacks kept pace with Wake Forest, matching them with 36 rebounds each. This is how much of Arkansas' rebounding went last season. They'd have a terrible rebounding game and follow it up with a good one. Whether or not they can be more consistent with their good rebounding nights will likely go a long way in determining how far this team goes in March.
As previously mentioned, the Deacons didn't come in as a big three-point shooting team and they were horrendous tonight, going just 1-18. Arkansas was 7-15.
It was what Razorback fans expect of Hawgball. Wake Forest was limited to just two made field goals outside the paint in the second half. Mike Anderson did have to call a timeout a few minutes into the latter half when a shot clock violation and a Wake Forest fast break layup after stealing the ball from Madden in the backcourt, but after the timeout everything settled back in and Wake didn't get any closer than that.
Alandise Harris, Jacorey Williams and Moses Kingsley were the other three players with 10 points. Williams also had five rebounds. He's had a really nice start to the season.
As for how much the victory means, it's too hard to say at this point. It's obviously great to pick up a 30-point win over an ACC school, but that's probably more for the team's confidence than resume building. Wake Forest was picked 12th in the ACC preseason out of 15 teams, so we'll see if they pick up any quality wins along the way. They're currently a top 100 KenPom team, and if they can stay there that should mean a pretty nice win for Arkansas.
It's also really good for Arkansas to get a clean, dominant win as they begin their stretch of challenging non conference games. After Delaware St on Friday, they go through a stretch of playing SMU, Iona, Iowa St, Clemson, and Dayton - all potential top 100 teams - by December 13th. It's good to see the Hogs playing well as they set up for that stretch, which will determine a good chunk of their NCAA non conference resume.
But next, it should be a fun weekend as the Hogs get to setup a fun two-day run with playing what should be an easy game Friday night before the football team plays on Saturday.