The story of this game is how much better the Razorbacks played in the second half when Rashad Madden and Michael Qualls entered the game.
The duo sat on the bench in the first half for reasons we'll likely never be totally certain of (Mike Anderson called it "housekeeping" after the game), and it wasn't until they started playing that Arkansas really ran Central Oklahoma off the floor.
Arkansas didn't really struggle without them in the first half. They still led 49-38 at the break but the level of intensity that should be expected of the team was not there. The game was tied at 23 over 10 minutes into the first half. Jacorey Williams and Anthlon Bell led the Hogs with 12 and 11 points in the first 20 minutes.
When Madden and Qualls joined the team on the floor after halftime, fans finally saw some of the team they're hoping to see. The 11-point halftime lead was pushed to 20 in less than four minutes. Qualls hit two threes while Portis and Alandise Harris both scored five points in that span. Harris and Madden both had assists.
Mike Anderson has always liked to call his style "controlled chaos" and with Madden and Qualls on the floor, the chaos felt much more controlled. Madden ran the point when he was in and that was when the Hogs were at their most efficient. Madden only played for 12 minutes in all but tied for the team lead with four assists in the process. Qualls was on fire for the entire second half. He was 5-5 from the field including 4-4 from behind the arc (all from the corners). He ended up leading the team with 17 points in his 12 minutes.
Several players had impressive moments throughout the game. Keaton Miles scored 12 points, going 4-6 from the floor including a three, two offensive rebounds (one he dunked in for a basket), three steals and two blocks. Trey Thompson had some nice moments, including a few very nice touch passes in the post to Bobby Portis. He didn't get any assists for it, but he did score 6 points and took a couple of steals. Thompson's +/- was 14 and Miles' was 17.
Portis didn't have his best night from the field but still scored 11 points on 4-11 shooting. He also led the team with 7 rebounds. Anthlon Bell also scored 11 points while only hitting one three. He made some nice shots inside the arc.
Those hoping for big impressions from the new guards were probably disappointed. Jabril Durham only scored 1 point. Anderson said he was "pressing" a bit, being his first game at this level. Some of his shots went in and rattled out. Anton Beard scored two points on a pair of free throws. Nick Babb hit a deep three late in the game for his only points. Babb's shot also ensured that everybody on the team scored during the game.
Alandise Harris also earns a shoutout. He scored 10 points and had six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
In the end, it was the first of two exhibition games. The team did what they should do. The next one is Thursday night before the games and stats count for real next Sunday.
Qualls monster dunks: None. The dunk of the night belonged to Jacorey Williams. He broke free at one point in the first half and threw down a flying reverse two-hander.
Was Nolan there? Yes.