In a big game on ESPN, Daniel Gafford showed the country why he’s a likely lottery pick. His 27 points and 12 rebounds led Arkansas (2-1) to a 73-72 win over Indiana (3-1). It’s a nice resume win and a good look for the SEC.
Arkansas-Indiana Team Stats
|POINTS PER POSSESSION||0.94||0.92|
|FTA per FGA||0.30||0.26|
|EFFECTIVE POSSESSION RATIO||0.95||0.87|
|Offensive Rebound %||25.0%||25.8%|
Two main things carried the day for Arkansas:
- Turnovers. The Hogs went +6 in turnovers, leading to six extra field goal attempts. Arkansas shot a lower percentage from the floor and had a lower true shooting, but created more opportunities.
- Two-point defense. It’s early in the year and there’s no telling how these stats will finish, but Arkansas entered this game 9th in 2-point field goal defense (35%), while Indiana entered 3rd in field goal offense (70%). The Hogs’ young defense got the better of the Hoosiers inside the arc, blocking seven shots and holding Indiana to a pedestrian 50% from 2.
Arkansas Player Stats
Gafford put together the best performance of his career, but overall Arkansas’ offense was up and down. It’s pretty clear that Gafford, Isaiah Joe, and Mason Jones are the only serious offensive weapons, and so it’s good to see them combining for 42 of Arkansas’ 77 possessions. The rest of the team played solid defense, limited turnovers, and hit a few big shots to keep the Hogs going.
Moving forward, the key will be developing more scorers around Gafford. The Hogs quickly lost a 10-point second-half lead when Mike Anderson tried to give him a breather. For more than 10 minutes in the second half, Gafford was the only Razorback to score.
After a close loss against Texas on a neutral floor and a nice win over Indiana, I think it’s fair to say this young team looks a little ahead of schedule, thanks to a good defense. Some true road games will bring out the freshmen, but if this team keeps improving, a run to the NCAA Tournament isn’t an impossibility.