In their first game without Daniel Gafford, things looked pretty good. Arkansas led by double digits for the entire second half and never trailed in an 84-72 win over Providence. They now advance to a rematch against Indiana, this time in Bloomington.
Mason Jones led the offensive effort with 18 points, but was one of four Hogs to hit double figures. Reggie Chaney had 14 on an efficient 7-9 shooting. He was also a monster defensively picking up seven blocks. Isaiah Joe had 12 points and five rebounds, while Gabe Osabuohien had 11 points and eight boards. All nine Razorbacks who played scored in this one.
The NIT has recently become a testing ground for experimental rules, and one of them this year was moving the 3-point line back to the FIBA length. It didn’t bother the Hogs any, who hit 10 of their 21 attempts from deep, but Providence had big struggles from the perimeter. They only shot 13% from the 3-point line in this one. The usual suspects for the Friars got on the board, but they did so at a high volume and Arkansas did an excellent job of shutting down the bench. The Razorbacks’ bench outscored the Friars 41-16 on the night.
Now Arkansas will travel to play Indiana, and like the Hogs they are without their star player. Romeo Langford has opted to sit out the NIT like Gafford, so the game will have a much different feel than the one that happened in Fayetteville at the beginning of the season.