Keyshawn Embery-Simpson and Reggie Chaney haven’t gotten the same attention as some other newcomers this season, but they were crucial in Arkansas’ 76-65 win over Austin Peay. Arkansas trailed 52-48 with just over 11 minutes to go. Then the Hogs put together a 20-5 run, with Embery-Simpson and Chaney scoring 16 of those points during that stretch.
Embery-Simpson was the headliner, hitting a couple clutch three’s and going 5/5 during that stretch. He finished the game with 14 points. Chaney had a couple of big offensive rebounds and putbacks in the second half, he finished with 12 points and four rebounds.
Daniel Gafford had a moment that had Hog fans holding their breath right before that run. He went down with an ankle injury, but he returned shortly after limping to the locker room and getting it re-taped. He finished with a double-double, 16 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks. He had several key defensive rebounds with the Governors trying to get back into the game.
Austin Peay led for most of the first half, due to some poorer defense than Hog fans have been seeing from this team. Austin Peay shot 46% in the first half, but the pressure turned up in the second half and Arkansas held them to 12/33 shooting in the second half and forced 18 turnovers throughout the game.
Another positive was the 21 assists on 27 made baskets. Even though the shots didn’t fall for a bit, the ball movement was there and that often allows the shooting to even things out. Six different Hogs picked up an assist, led by Jalen Harris’ performance with seven assists and just one turnover.
Now Arkansas is 9-3 heading into SEC play. They’re not playing at the level they were earlier in the year but things are starting to move in the right direction. If Arkansas continues to get bench production like they did tonight from Chaney and Embery-Simpson, there is much less pressure on Isaiah Joe and Gafford.