Arkansas' season opener went pretty much according to script. The Razorbacks jumped out to a big lead, allowed the Jaguars to make a run in the second half, and then closed it out comfortably without coming too close to losing the lead.
The Hogs built a 15-point lead in the first half, but came out flat in the second. Moses Kingsley had to go to the bench with foul trouble and Southern was able to make a bit of a run. In the last 10 minutes of the game, even with Kingsley back on the court, Arkansas' lead was cut to just six points. But it didn't last. Dusty Hannahs hit another three and the Hogs were well on their way to their first victory of the season.
Kingsley is likely to be the big story. His previous career high was 12 points as a freshman, but he wasted no time zipping right past that for 22 points. He was a perfect 8 for 8 from the field (several of which were dunks). He also had 12 rebounds and five blocks. Kingsley said afterward it was about as perfect an opener as he could have asked for. Around halftime he was on pace for a triple double in the three categories, and might still do it in one of these early games. He only played 24 minutes.
Dusty Hannahs got the start instead of Anthlon Bell and did what fans hoped he'd do in a Razorback uniform: scoring 21 points and going 5-7 from beyond the arc. A couple of them were NBA range threes. Bell did still play 27 minutes, but wasn't as effective beyond the arc, making 2 of 6 shots. However, he showed an ability to get inside the arc and shot 6 for 12 overall.
Jimmy Whitt managed to reach double digits in his first game as a Razorback. He scored 12 points on 5 of 12 shooting. It wasn't particularly spectacular, but he was able to get shots close to the basket. He was blocked a couple of times, but he'll get better at picking his spots as he adjusts to the college game.
Jabril Durham is starting at point guard and so far is being an effective distributor. He had 10 assists tonight to go along with the 16 he had in the exhibition games. He also had four steals which almost evened out his six turnovers. The turnovers were higher than usual for him.
All in all, solid opener for the Hogs. If nothing else, it's an interesting team because they will show flashes of brilliance. Hopefully those flashes continue to grow.