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Arkansas Razorbacks 117, Northwestern State Demons 78: Empty The Bench


Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Not a lot of drama to this one. Arkansas returned from their disappinting trip to Brooklyn to promptly dispatch the Northwestern State Demons in Bud Walton and bring their record back to .500.

And they did it in style, hitting the 100-point mark for the first time this season in 117-78 victory. Seven Hogs scored in double figures, led by Dusty Hannahs and Moses Kingsley with 21 each.

Arkansas led pretty much the whole way through. The only time it appeared things might get shaky came in the first half. The Hogs built an 11-point lead over the first nine minutes of the game but saw that lead evaporate in about three minutes after giving up four threes and a dunk to the Demons. All of a sudden, the Razorbacks faced a single point deficit.

It didn't last long, however. Arkansas promptly went on a 15-0 run over the next 2:30 to go up 14 and they never looked back. The lead grew to as many as 46 points in the second half before Mike Anderson emptied the bench.

It's certainly good to see Arkansas play so well. The Hogs shot 55.7% from the field, forced 25 turnovers, and outrebounded the Demons 45-29. After the game, everyone was very complimentary of senior transfer Willy Kouassi, who scored 12 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 18 minutes of action. Arkansas will need him to step, really for any reason, but especially with Trey Thompson out with an injured ankle.

If you're wondering how good of a mid-major Northwestern State is, the answer is not too good. They did score 92 points in an 8-point defeat in Bud Walton last year, but their star point guard, Jalan West, tore his ACL in the season opener a few weeks ago. They're now 1-5 and 0-3 against the SEC, but if it means anything, Arkansas did beat them by more points than either Auburn or Ole Miss did when those two teams beat them.

Kingsley had another double-double, his fourth of the season with 10 rebounds to go along with his 21 points. Jabril Durham also had his first career double-double with 10 assists to go along with his career-high 14 points.

Who knows what sorts of achievements this team might be able to do this season, but one interesting one is in play early. Durham already has 48 assists on the season. Arkansas' single-season record is 219 by Kareem Reid in 1996. It's obviously early and there's a lot of things that can happen between now and March, but at the rate Durham's going, it's in play.

There's not much time to enjoy the win for the Razorbacks as they prepare to go back on the road, this time to North Carolina where they'll take on Wake Forest. Arkansas beat the Demon Deacons fairly easily last year but they'll be underdogs this time.