FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— After a great performance against San Jose State, Arkansas hoped to continue the success against The University of North Carolina Greensboro. Instead, the young team got caught in the middle of a classic trap game against the Spartans.
Just three days after their best offensive performance of the season so far, the Hogs produced an awful first half of offense against UNCG. The Spartans held Arkansas to just 21-points, including a 7:19 minute scoring drought. Arkansas hurt themselves the most, missing shot after shot at the rim and settling for awkward 3s, missing all 8 of their attempts. Luckily, a small run in the last minutes of the half, closed UNCG’s lead to 5.
It did not help Arkansas much that rising start Trevon Brazileleft the game early with a right knee injury. Thankfully, the injury does not seem to be a long-term issue and Brazile was able to make it back to the bench on his own strength after going to the locker room.
Defensively, Arkansas did well by holding UNCG to 26-points.The Hogs even had a higher field goal percentage going into the half. The difference was that the Spartans were able to knock down 4 3-point shots.
The second half was completely flipped. Nick Smith took over the game scoring 16 of Arkansas’s 44 in the half, including the much needed first 3 of the game for Arkansas. On the other hand, the Razorback’s defense began to slip. With every Arkansas shot made, the Spartans seemed to have an answer including some very impressive 3s late in the game.
Arkansas was able to create a small lead going into the final minutes of the game, forcing UNCG to foul to try to stay alive. The Hogs hit their free throws and iced the game.
Hogs win 65-58.
Arkansas finished with 33.3% from the field (18-54) and an abysmal 16.7% from the 3 point line (3-18). Those 3-point makes, however, came at clutch moments in the second half that helped push the Hogs to a win. After a great assist performance last week, the team was only able to create 9 against UNCG. The biggest reason Arkansas won this game was their performance at the charity stripe. The Razorbacks knocked down 26 of 33 attempts compared to UNCG’s 7 of 11.
The Hogs on defense held the Spartans to 31.3% (21-67) fromthe floor and 32.1% (9-28) from the 3-point line. Arkansas won the rebound battle 47-39, but only forced 9 turnovers. Arkansas also had 9 blocks, but really, it felt like there was more than that.
Nick Smith led the team with 22-points. Makhi Mitchell had himself a game and quietly produced a double-double, scoring the second-highest points on the team with 13 and bringingdown 14 boards. Mitchell also had 4 of the team’s 9 blocks.
Arkansas will take on the University of Oklahoma on December, 12th at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK. This will be the hardest test the Hogs have left before they open conference play versus LSU at the end of the month.