Arkansas/Gardner-Webb Post-Game Reaction
Arkansas picked up a nice win on Saturday afternoon after a tough season opener. The offense has been a concern going back to the preseason. Those struggles continued to start the game today. The Bulldogs went ahead 21-15 with 6:46 left in the 1st half. Arkansas had just 15 points in 14 minutes of basketball. The defense wasn’t in bad shape, but the offense continued to sputter.
Arkansas would then go on to score 36 points in the final 6:30 of the 1st. It was like someone flipped a switch. They got a couple easy buckets and then 3 by J.D. Notae that ignited the offense.
Eric Musselman changed up the starting lineup today with Connor Vanover and Jaylin Williams playing with the first group. The change proved effective as Connor Vanover had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Jaylin Williams had 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Once Arkansas took the lead, they never looked back as they built a lead as high as 31. Notae was very efficient today as he had 18 points on 12 shots. Devo Davis finally got on the scoreboard after not attempting a shot on Tuesday night. He had 10 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Musselman took a different approach today that I’ve seen from him before. He usually keeps his main rotation in the game until the final minutes. Not tonight. The backup squad was on the floor for the final 8 minutes of the game. We saw Jaxon Robinson for the first time in the regular season and he nailed 2 threes. He has as good of form as I have ever seen from a Razorback. Freshman Chance Moore also saw action tonight.
The concerning part was the 3 point defense again. Gardner-Webb made 13 three pointers on Saturday with 10 in the 2nd half. Mercer also had success from 3. East Central University in the preseason did the same. We are just 2 games in, but this is looking like an issue for this team.
As a whole, I was pleased with what I saw today. It was nice to finally see the offense click. It was nice to the see the ball move around. Arkansas made 13 threes of their own.
The assist to turnover ratio has been bad for this team. Not tonight. The Hogs had 23 assists and just 9 turnovers.
Arkansas gets one more tune-up before they head to Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic where they will play Power 5 teams.
The tune-up is against Northern Iowa on Wednesday in Bud Walton Arena.