The Arkansas Razorbacks defeated a fiesty North Texas Mean Green squad 69-54 on Saturday inside Bud Walton Arena. Four Hogs scored in double digits and sophomore stretch forward, Connor Vanover recorded a career high 16 rebounds to go along with six blocked shots to defeat defending Conference USA champion North Texas.
The Razorbacks struggled early on offense against the “Ole” defense. The game was tied at 19 halfway through the first half but Arkansas was able to pull away using a 10-0 run to close out the first half to take a lead to halftime 38-27.
The Hogs were able to swell their lead to 20 at the start of the second half as they were able to stifle the Mean Green offense. They were held scoreless through the first five minutes of the second half.
The Mean Green were able to pull within 10 points one last time around with around six minutes to go. The Hogs eventually put the game out of reach with a three point dagger by J.D. Notae with 3:48 to go in the ball game. That would make it a 67-48 lead and the Hogs would coast from there.
Justin Smith led the Razorbacks in scoring with 18 points. He displayed a quality midrange game and provided the Razorbacks with a number of rebounds (six). J.D. Notae also had his second straight solid outing with 16 points off the bench. Notae was 6/14 shooting with two of those being three-point makes. Other scorers included Desi Sills with 14, Moses Moody with 11,
Vanover with six points, 16 rebounds and six blocks. He also is the first college basketball player since Zion Williamson to record 16 rebounds and six blocks.
Jalen Tate and KK Robinson both scored two points a piece to round out the scoring for the Razorbacks.
Three point defense was something Razorback head coach, Eric Musselman mentioned needing his team to improve on after their performance against Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday. North Texas was just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc. That is a made percentage of 15.4% which mirrored last years game as well where North Texas only hit on two three point baskets in the previous matchup with the Hogs last season (2 of17).
One final thought:
The Razorbacks will welcome the University of Texas-Arlington this Wednesday, December 2nd. It will be a later tip-off at 8 PM and will be on the regular SEC Network channel. That should make many fans happy!