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Arkansas Razorbacks 87, Central Missouri 60: Lights Up

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*exhibition triumph*

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Arkansas Gunnar Rathbun-USA TODAY Sports

The highly-anticipated Razorback basketball season finally sorta-tipped off Friday night in the team’s first exhibition game against Central Missouri. There wasn’t much drama in the evening as the Hogs rolled to an victory.

Since it was just an exhibition game against an overmatched Division II school, we shouldn’t read too much into it, but seeing as how this was my first time to see the new version of the Razorbacks, here are some thoughts:

  • The game was actually pretty close throughout most of the first half. The Mules even took the lead a few times. I thought the Razorbacks seemed a bit tentative. The flow and aggression you’d like to see in the team didn’t really start to appear until the second half, when Arkansas blew the game open.
  • There isn’t any player on the team that scares me when they have the ball. That hasn’t always been the case. No need to name names, but y’all know.
  • Dusty Hannahs was the scoring leader with 17 points. However, none of his shots were threes (he only attempted two), and he even missed three free throws.
  • Yes, the team is better. In part because the new juco transfer guards, Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon, will both make an immediate impact. Barford may not be the perimeter offensive player Arkansas has seen at point guard in recent years, but with his height and size he can get in the paint and be effective. He scored 10 points and six of those came off offensive rebounds. Macon also scored 8 points.
  • Arkansas is going to have to shoot the three better. Shooting threes was one of the few things Arkansas did well last year, but against Central Michigan, Arkansas only connected on 1-of-18 shots from beyond the arc.
  • The officials are in midseason form. They called 48 fouls in the game. Reminder: it’s a 40-minute game. It ain’t a fast 40 when there’s a foul called more than once per minute.
  • Moses Kingsley did not dominate as you might expect. He had 8 points and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes. Of course, Arkansas didn’t really need him to do too much tonight. I’m sure we’ll see much more of him soon.
  • You can see why people love C.J. Jones. Jones was the most lightly-recruited player on the team but has drawn a lot of praise since arriving on campus. The Central Missouri coach even singled him out after the game as someone who will become a really great player. He only scored 4 points but showed a quickness and fluid movement that’s pretty rare.
  • Arlando Cook sat out the first half. That was part of his punishment from his public intoxication arrest a few weeks ago.
  • Twelve Razorbacks played, and twelve Razorbacks scored.
  • Nolan Richardson was in attendance. He’s 1/1 on the season.
  • The next two weekends in Fayetteville feature basketball games on Friday night and football games on Saturdays! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!