Arkansas won by 15 but it didn’t feel like Arkansas won by 15.
The game was tied at halftime and the Razorbacks actually trailed by a point with 12:32 to go. There was no indication the Hogs were about to pull away. North Texas’ Dallas Moore was going off for what ended up being 34 points (his third straight 30+ point performance). It looked like it was going to be a battle down to the wire.
That’s about when Mike Anderson subbed in Jaylen Barford, Arlando Cook, and Trey Thompson, then subbed in Daryl Macon a minute later, and they put together a quick run that gave the Razorbacks a 10-point lead with 9:59 to go. Pretty solid two-and-a-half minutes there by the Hogs. Barford scored the first 5 points and Macon made a pair of threes, and that was that.
The North Florida coaches acknowledged after the game that Barford’s initial three was huge, and Macon’s threes to follow up were killers.
The lead didn’t get closer than 6 points the rest of the way. Arkansas made 10 free throws over the final few minutes to ice the game.
Dusty Hannahs came off the bench again but still led the team with 17 points and played 25 minutes. North Florida’s coach seemed bewildered that he was coming off the bench and not playing 40 minutes, but it’s been working for Arkansas over the last few games. It’ll be interesting to see if that continues by the time SEC play comes around.
Barford ended up with 14 points and Macon with 13. Macon called it his best game as a Razorback so far. Moses Kingsley had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Rebounding was a key factor, as Arkansas 15-board advantage would attest.
North Florida was pretty hot in the first half but cooled off in the second. Credit Arkansas for playing better defensively. It’s not a coincidence that Arkansas has consistently played better in the second half this season than the first. That’s opposite from the last few years.
Now Arkansas is off for a week for finals before traveling to Houston to take on Texas. The Longhorns are 4-4 as of this writing, but all four of their losses have come to quality opponents. It’s a great opportunity for Arkansas to get another resume win.