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Road gets tougher for UA in 2014-15

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, May 8, 2014
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson shouts to his players from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA basketball game against Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Tennessee won 81-74. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Lau)
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson shouts to his players from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA basketball game against Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Tennessee won 81-74. (AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Lau)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' men's basketball team didn't have a true road game in nonconference play last season, but the Razorbacks are loading up for the 2014-15 season.

Arkansas will play road games next season against Iowa State, SMU and Clemson, a group that was a combined 49-5 at home last year.

The Razorbacks will play Iowa State on Dec. 4 as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, it was announced Wednesday. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Arkansas is returning games to SMU and Clemson -- which both played in the NIT Final Four -- after beating the Mustangs and Tigers in Walton Arena last year.

Dates for the Razorbacks' games against SMU and Clemson haven't been announced.

Iowa State, 15-1 at home last season, is returning three starters from last season's 28-8 team that won the Big 12 Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 with victories over North Carolina Central and North Carolina before losing to eventual NCAA champion Connecticut.

Junior forward Georges Niang is Iowa State's top returning starter, averaging 16.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season. Niang missed the North Carolina and Connecticut games after breaking his right foot against North Carolina Central, but he is expected to be fully recovered for the 2014-15 season.

Other returning starters for the Cyclones are junior forward Dustin Hogue (11.6 points, 8.4 rebounds last season) and sophomore guard Monte Morris (6.8 points, 3.7 assists).

This spring Iowa State added point guard Bryce Dejean-Jones from UNLV, where he averaged 13.6 points last season. Dejean-Jones is graduating from UNLV and will have immediate eligibility for the Cyclones.

Forward Abdel Nader is expected to be another impact transfer for Iowa State. He redshirted last season after transferring from Northern Illinois, where he averaged 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds two years ago.

SMU is returning 12 players from last season's 27-10 team that beat Connecticut twice and lost to Minnesota in the NIT championship game.

The Mustangs' top returnees are junior point guard Nic Moore (13.6 points), junior forward Markus Kennedy (12.4 points, 7.1 rebounds) and sophomore guard Keith Frazier (5.4 points), a McDonald's High School All-American.

SMU, 18-1 at home last season, added another McDonald's All-American in guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who signed last fall.

Clemson is losing All-ACC forward K.J. McDaniels, who announced he's bypassing his senior season to enter the NBA Draft. McDaniels had 27 points and 11 rebounds against the Razorbacks last season. He averaged 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Tigers, who finished 23-13 and lost to Minnesota in the NIT semifinals.

Returning starters for Clemson -- which was 16-3 at home last season -- are senior guards Rod Hall (9.7 points, 3.9 assists last season) and Damarcus Harrison (7.8 points) and senior center Landry Nnoko (6.5 points, 6.2 rebounds).

Arkansas is 1-3 all-time against Iowa State, with the victory over the Cyclones coming during the 1984-85 season, 84-79 in overtime at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.

The Cyclones beat the Razorbacks 86-71 at Ames, Iowa, during the 1970-71 season, 96-93 at Little Rock during the 1971-72 season and 77-71 at the Big Island Classic in Hilo, Hawaii, during the 1999-2000 season.

While the Razorbacks haven't played at Iowa State in more than 40 years, Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson is familiar with the Cyclones' Hilton Coliseum, where his Missouri teams were 4-1.

2014 SEC/Big 12

Challenge matchups

DEC. 3 Auburn at Texas Tech DEC. 4

Arkansas at Iowa State

Baylor at Vanderbilt LSU at West Virginia TCU at Ole Miss DEC. 5 Florida at Kansas Missouri at Oklahoma Texas at Kentucky DEC. 6 Kansas State at Tennessee Oklahoma State at South Carolina NOTE Game times haven’t been announced. All games will be on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Sports on 05/08/2014

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