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Arkansas Rocks Southern, 79-44

The defense smothered and covered.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Vanderbilt vs Arkansas Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Arkansas Razorbacks put away the Southern Jaguars quickly and efficiently, to the tune of 79-44. The Hogs were led by their defense and had six guys scoring between 11 and 14 points.

Devo Davis led the way with 14 points, 7 boards, and 2 assists, in only sixteen minutes of playing time. Davis showed fans that the freshman class isn’t just “Moses Moody and the rest,” it’s got some more star potential. The Jacksonville-native certainly looks like he’s going to have a bright future in Fayetteville.

Speaking of Moody, he led the way early, getting most of his 12 points in the first half, including a three and a layup within the first few minutes. His effortless put-back dunk late in the first half has also got to go on the highlight reel.

Speaking of that highlight reel, reserve some space on it for Justin Smith. The man had three dunks, two of which absolutely posterized a poor Southern player. Both also resulted in and-1 opportunities.

Justin Smith’s dunks are worth three points.

Smith also just missed a one-handed oop that would’ve caused the arena’s sprinkler system to go haywire. It was this close.

The game had a ton of moments where it seemed like one Hog or another was going to take control and score thirty. Mid-way through the first half, J.D. Notae was on fire, getting 11 of his 12 points. Jalen Tate got buckets in droves around the end of the first half and beginning of the second half and finished with 12 (the last of three Hogs finishing with exactly a dozen points).

The Hogs ended up with deeply-balanced scoring, and no Hog was on the court longer than 26 minutes.

The thing to take away from the game was how stifling the Hogs’ defense was, for forty minutes. In the first half, when Connor Vanover played 16 of his 20 minutes, the Jaguars couldn’t find anything inside the paint, and the big guy was affecting anything close to the basket. He had 3 blocks and 3 steals and countless altered shots you can’t find on the box score.

Around the perimeter was just as tough. The Hogs limited the Jags to a single three-pointer the entire game. Southern finished 1/13 from outside, which translate to 7.7%. Not winning basketball!

The Hogs also shook Ahsante Shivers, the Jaguars’ leading scorer, who’d been averaging 16.5 points per game so far this season. He finished with zero.

Jayden Saddler led Southern with 9 points. Three others chipped in 8.

All of their points seemed to come from fairly long two-pointers, which is, as Coach Musselman would tell you, inefficient. So you can imagine that was the defensive plan.

All in all, the game that came together because the Tulsa game got cancelled ended up being another in a series of blowouts, and the Hogs are 5-0. The Tulsa game would surely have been more of a work-out, but this was a nice little stretch. We’re going to learn a lot more in the coming weeks.