It was a weird game for Eric Musselman’s basketball team, as they struggled from three, didn’t really look all that great, and won by 31. The Hogs went 0-14 from deep in the first half, and Arkansas media favorite Andrew Hutchinson’s beloved 3 point streak seemed to be in jeopardy, but a laser from Isaiah Joe made sure that the streak continued to 1,015 straight games with at least one made three. Congratulations to Hutch as he missed the continuation of the streak for the birth of his first child. Now, onto the game!
Isaiah Joe came up big once again, scoring 33 points to lead the team. He finished 9-20 overall and 6-14 from deep after going 0 for in the first half. Yeah, he hit 6 threes in a half. He also chipped in 5 steals. Here’s how many times a Razorback has gone for 30 points and 5 steals:
Complete list of 30+ point, 5+ steal performances by @RazorbackMBB players since the 1996-97 season:— HogStats.com (@HogStats) November 20, 2019
32 & 5 by Mason Jones vs. Rice on 11/5/2019
33 & 5 by Isaiah Joe vs. Texas Southern on 11/19/2019
If that doesn’t get you hyped, I don’t know what will. Musselman has brought back perimeter defense, as the team has held opponents to a dismal 8 for 68 from deep on the year. Granted, these haven’t been world beating teams, but it’s an impressive start.
The return of Jimmy Whitt Jr. continued to be a revelation, as he chipped in a solid double-double with 17 points and a team leading 10 rebounds. As undersized as Arkansas is going to be this year, getting rebound production from guards is going to be huge, so kudos to him for doing the dirty work. Elsewhere Adrio Bailey put in a tremendous effort that isn’t going to show up on the stat sheet. As Arkansas’ only true big at the moment, he’s going to have to be a rock, and he was a nuisance on defense all night.
Speaking of defense, the under 50 streak unfortunately ended tonight, but 51 points on a lackluster night ain’t bad. Texas Southern wasn’t able to find a rhythm, as only Tyrik Armstrong was able to get into double digits, scoring 15 points for a team lead.
Eric Musselman got to celebrate his birthday with a gift from the refs, as he received a technical foul for reacting sensibly to a terrible call. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it really seems like refs are going to be whistle-happy this year. They made the Montana game nearly unwatchable, though this game was a little better. Either way, the night ended with a 31 point win, and the crowd singing “Happy Birthday,” so Musselman should be pleased.
The 4-0 Razorbacks will return to action on Friday against South Dakota as part of the Collegiate Hoops Roadshow at 8:00PM CT. South Dakota is undefeated so far, so something will have to give. If Musselman is given the choice, I like our chances.
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