Close your eyes and imagine practically any Razorback home game you've watched under Mike Anderson. That's what Saturday's win over Dayton looked like.
The Razorbacks got out to a big lead early, allowed a run by Dayton to get back in it, only to pull away at the end.
It was all Bobby Portis early and often. He scored 14 of his game high 18 points in the first half. He was red hot, shooting 7-9 from the field in the first half, before going 2-5 in the second. He also finished a rebound shy of a double-double.
Coach Mike Anderson made an interesting tweak to his starting line up that ultimately paid off. Jabril Durham started in place of Rashad Madden and Durham was hot early hitting two three-pointers. Durham finished the game with nine points on 3-3 shooting from behind the arc. But, this was also important because Madden looked fresher at the end of the game when the Hogs had to close out the game.
Madden was the only other Razorback, besides Portis, in double figures for scoring. He finished with 12 points, most of which came from going 8-8 from the free throw line. Most of those free throws came and the end when Arkansas was trying to close out the Flyers.
The Razorback half court and full court defense came up huge, holding Dayton to only 55 points. The Flyers shot 21-52 (40%) from the field and 5-18 (28%) from three point land. This is a vast improvement from the Iowa State game, who probably would have found a way to go 18-18 from three today.
In surprising fashion, the Hogs out rebounded the Flyers 33-24. Rebounding has been one of the negatives fans have harped on in the past, but wasn't an issue today.
It was a day when everyone contributed. Everyone who played more than three minutes contributed at least two points to the effort. Arkansas' bench outscored Dayton's bench 26-11. That was a little inflated considering Madden came off the bench today.
Today was a friendly reminder for fans to not hit the panic button. Dayton went to the Elite Eight last season and is a well coached team. It also showed us that the Hogs can hold a good team under 60 points to win the game. It doesn't always have to get into the 80's and 90's to get the win. That should help them carry some confidence into conference play against a team like Georgia, who may try to grind it out with the Hogs.
Next up for Arkansas is Southeast Missouri in Little Rock this Saturday. It will be a homecoming of sorts for SEMO head coach Dickey Nutt, who is a Little Rock native. The Redhawks play Missouri State tonight, and are 5-4 on the season. Two notable scores from their season so far: they won 74-68 at Central Arkansas and lost 65-61 at Missouri.
All in all, the Hogs did what they needed to do today. They have four cupcakes left before starting conference play. No reason for them not to be 11-2 going into Athens, GA on January 6th.