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RECAP: Arkansas’s Offense Explodes in the 2nd Half, Hogs Win 99-58

NCAA Basketball: San Jose State at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

With it being Nick Smith Jr’s first game starting, they werebound to have some chemistry issues. Issues that seemed to manifest themselves more on the defensive end of the floor. In fact, Smith’s emergence in the line-up seemed to boost Arkansas’s offensive game early.

In the first half, Arkansas and San Jose State went toe-to-toe for the first 17 minutes. In particular, it was Ibrahima Diallo early in the half and Omari Moore that gave the Hogs fits. Moore scored 16-points in the first half and shot 60%. Diallo had less of an impact in the box score with 6 points, but that was due to the foul trouble he found himself in early. Before that, the Hogs’defense gave the 7-footer center easy looks under the rim.

At the 2:47 mark, Arkansas finally started to shut it down defensively going on a 9-0 run, pushing the lead to 38-31. The Hogs started to go through the motions, trying to milk the clock to go into halftime. That led to some bad turnovers by the Hogs that shortened the lead to 5 points right before half.

Arkansas exploded going into the second half, knocking down 5/7 of their first shots from the field. The Razorbacks dominated from that point on. Overmatched and discouraged, the Spartans became stagnant on offense, only hitting 9 of 26 from the floor and 2 of 13 from the 3-point line in the second half. Arkansas, offensively, just put on a show of their athleticism, including a dime from Devo Davis to Ricky Council IV for a one-handed slam.

The most wholesome part of the game came in the final minutes when Musselman put Lawson Blake and Cade Arbogast in, both walk-ons. The crowd and Arkansas’s bench were ecstatic when their numbers were called. Arbogast’s first shot was 3 that sank and Bud Walton erupted. Although the shot had no impact on the game, it was great to see that type of excitement this early in the season.

The Hogs win 99-58.

Arkansas, especially in the second half, was electric on offense. The Hogs went 62.7% (37-59) from the floor and 61.5% (8-13) from downtown. Smith was definitely a spark that Arkansas desperately needed, knocking down 3 of the 8 team 3s. That being said, Smith was 3rd in scoring for the Razorbacks with 16-points. Trevon Brazile led the team with 23-points, followed closely by Council’s 17-points.

Passing seemed to be an emphasis in this game. In Arkansas’s game against Troy, the Hogs played they only had 4 total assists. Today they had 22. Anthony Black led the team with 6 and Smith was next with 5. Arkansas also took care of the ball, only turning it over 11 times.

Defensively, Arkansas held the Spartans to 40.4% from the field (23-57) and 31.6% for the 3-point line (6-19). Arkansas forced 18 turnovers, stealing the ball 8 times. The Hogs also won the rebound battle 33-29. Coming off the bench, Jalen Graham led the team in boards with 6 and Brazile came in second with 5.

The Hogs move on the UNC Greensboro as they come to Bud Walton on Tuesday, December, 6th at 6:00 pm.