In The Lane:

Dunking Hogs get to the rim

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, December 17, 2017
Arkansas forward Adrio Bailey dunks the ball during a game against Troy on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in North Little Rock.
Arkansas forward Adrio Bailey dunks the ball during a game against Troy on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in North Little Rock.

The Arkansas Razorbacks had seven dunks among their 34 baskets in beating Troy 88-63 on Saturday night at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

Senior guard Jaylen Barford had three of his five assists on alley-oop dunks -- two to sophomore forward Adrio Bailey and one to senior forward Trey Thompson.

"We're a very athletic team, and they're getting a chance to showcase it," Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said. "When we play defense and we get in transition and are running, guys have got the confidence to throw it up there."

Bailey, 6-6, had four dunks, including a breakaway with five seconds left to cap the scoring.

The most impressive dunk may have been by 6-11 freshman Daniel Gafford in the second half.

"Daniel ran backwards to get the ball," Anderson said. "I don't know how he caught it. I don't teach that. God gifted that to him."

The Razorbacks have 44 dunks on the season, including 22 by Gafford.

"We're not finished with the dunks," senior guard Daryl Macon said. "It's early. There are more dunks to come."

Big crowd

The announced attendance for Saturday night's game of 16,416 was the second most the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville has drawn for a game at Verizon Arena, where the Razorbacks began playing during the 1999-2000 season when the building opened.

The high attendance is 17,021 when No. 6 Oklahoma State beat Arkansas 85-76 on Dec. 22, 2001.

"Our guys brought unbelievable energy," Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said. "They matched the energy that was in this building."

The Razorbacks have drawn more than 16,000 fans in back-to-back games in different cities after there was an announced crowd of 17,583 for the Dec. 9 game against Minnesota in Walton Arena.

"This really shows how much the state of Arkansas just loves the Razorbacks," Troy Coach Phil Cunningham said. "Very, very impressive atmosphere."

Gafford's thumb

Arkansas freshman forward Daniel Gafford had his right thumb heavily taped and was 0 of 4 from the free-throw line and 2 of 4 from the field before taking it off.

After removing the tape, Gafford hit his final two shots -- including a dunk -- and was 2 of 2 from the free-throw line.

"I was glad he took it off," Coach Mike Anderson said of the tape.

Anderson said he wasn't sure why Gafford wore the tape, but he said he might have bumped his thumb in practice.

"When I saw it, I said, 'What is that?' " Anderson said. "But by that time, he's getting ready to go into the starting lineup."

Anderson said whatever was bothering Gafford was minor.

Persons of interest

Senior guard Wesley Person Jr. led Troy with 25 points, giving his family 154 in seven games against Arkansas as part of a father-son duo.

Wesley Person Sr. scored 129 points for Auburn in six games against Arkansas -- a 21.5 average -- during the 1991-1992 through 1993-94 seasons.

Person Sr.'s top scoring game against the Razorbacks was a 28-point effort on Jan, 15, 1994, when an Arkansas team that would go on to win the national championship beat the Tigers 117-105 at Auburn.

Arkansas went 4-2 against Person Sr.'s Auburn teams.

In the Rock

Arkansas improved to 91-30 all-time in games played in Little Rock and North Little Rock, including 10-9 in Verizon Arena.

The Razorbacks endured a 1-5 stretch between the 2006-2007 and 2011-2012 seasons -- when they lost to Texas Tech, Appalachian State, Baylor, Alabama-Birmingham and Houston, along with a victory over North Texas -- that dropped them to 5-8 in Verizon Arena.

Arkansas is 5-1 the past six seasons in Verizon Arena, beating Alabama A&M, South Alabama, Southeast Missouri State, Sam Houston State and Troy, along with a loss to Mercer.

Holmes sweet Holmes

Arkansas guard Jonathan Holmes, a 5-10 sophomore walk-on from Columbia, Ill., drew a huge cheer from the crowd when he hit a three-pointer with 15 seconds left.

Holmes has scored nine points this season and scored at least one in all five games in which he played.

Ticked off, teed up

Troy senior guard Kevin Baker was called for a technical foul with 4:18 left in the first half.

He expressed his displeasure to an official after he drove to the basket and no foul was called. When the official heard what Baker said, he immediately called the technical.

Daryl Macon shot the two free throws resulting from the technical and hit both to put Arkansas ahead 41-21.

Vs. Troy

Arkansas improved to 4-1 all-time against Troy.

In meetings prior to Saturday night, the Razorbacks beat the Trojans 137-70 in Fayetteville during the 1996-1997 season; lost to them 74-66 in Fayetteville during 2002-2003 season; beat them 89-54 in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the 2004-2005 season; and beat them 75-60 in Fayetteville during the 2010-2011 season.

Top 10 in North Little Rock

Here’s a rundown of the 10 largest crowds for Arkansas games in Verizon Arena:

CROWD DATE RESULT

17,021 Dec. 22, 2001 Lost to No. 6 Oklahoma State 85-76

16,416 Dec. 16, 2017 Beat Troy 88-63

16,144 Dec. 30, 1999* Beat Centenary 73-55

15,687 Jan. 3, 2009 Beat North Texas 86-75

13,667 Dec. 15, 1999 Beat Texas-Pan American 70-56$

13,283 Dec. 16, 2006 Lost to Texas Tech 71-56

13,140 Dec. 4, 2004 Lost to No. 3 Illinois 72-60

12,153 Dec. 22, 2016 Beat Sam Houston State 90-56

11,958 Dec. 30, 2009 Lost to Baylor 70-47 * Part of a doubleheader with UALR

Sports on 12/17/2017

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