Razorbacks report:

Jackson big scorer for UTSA

By: Bob Holt
Published: Saturday, December 15, 2018
UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson is averaging 16.8 points per game entering Saturday's contest with Arkansas in North Little Rock.
Photo by Jeff Huehn, UTSA
UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson is averaging 16.8 points per game entering Saturday's contest with Arkansas in North Little Rock.

Jhivvan Jackson, a 6-0 sophomore guard at Texas-San Antonio, is averaging nearly a point per minute going into the Roadrunners' game against Arkansas tonight at Verizon Arena.

Jackson is averaging 18.7 points in 19.5 minutes through 6 of the Roadrunners' 9 games.

So why isn't he playing more?

Jackson's minutes have been limited because he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee less than 10 months ago.

UTSA Coach Steve Henson said Jackson finally was cleared to play without limitations on his minutes in the Roadrunners' most recent game when they beat Mid-American Christian 104-74 last Saturday.

Jackson scored 28 points -- hitting 11 of 21 shots, including 4 of 11 three-pointers -- in 25 minutes.

"Jhivvan's just such a talented guy," Henson said. "Getting him fully cleared is a big key.

"He helps us not only with scoring, but helps us play a little faster, space the floor better and allows other guys to play with more confidence."

Jackson, who averaged 18.4 points as a freshman before injuring his knee Feb. 24 against Louisiana Tech, missed the first three games this season. He was medically cleared to play 15 minutes in the next three games, then 25 minutes.

"He can score in a variety of ways," Henson said. "He's incredibly quick and can create his own shot, he shoots the three and he draws fouls."

Jackson is shooting 40.9 percent on three-pointers (20 of 49) and 89.7 percent on free throws (26 of 29). Last season he scored a career-high 31 points in UTSA's 97-85 loss at Oklahoma.

"When we're running and getting up and down the floor and he gets open looks, he's going to knock them down," Henson said. "He puts a lot of pressure on the defense.

"He's just a true, true scorer. He's got the gift to score and score in bunches."

Henson said ideally he would play like to play Jackson as much as 34 minutes, but he doesn't know if that's possible tonight given the game's anticipated fast pace.

"Arkansas, the pace can get pretty wild with them, and we're not going to come in there planning on walking it up and down the court," Henson said. "We play fast, too.

"It's hard to say if Jhivvan's in good enough condition yet to play at a high level like that for much more than 30 minutes, but hopefully he can."

METAL DETECTORS

Fans will be going through metal detectors at Verizon Arena to get into tonight's game, so they're encouraged to arrive early. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

NO TELEVISION

There will be no telecast or streaming in any form of the Arkansas-UTSA game.

The game wasn't picked up by any of Arkansas' network partners and the UA doesn't have the capability to independently produce a television broadcast from Verizon Arena as it does in Walton Arena.

Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said he hopes fans will fill the seats in Verizon Arena and that his team is best appreciated by attending a game.

"When you watch us play in person, when we're playing well, it's two hours of sheer entertainment," Anderson said. "With this bunch here, you never know what's going to happen with them, but thus far, the've been fun to watch.

"They're fun, they're fast, they're exciting, they're playing the game the right way. They're playing defensively, they're trusting each other offensively, sharing the basketball. So I encourage fans to come out and see them."

JUST HOOPS

Arkansas' spring semester classes don't begin until Jan. 14, meaning the Razorbacks have a month to concentrate on basketball without any academic obligations.

"When you get to this time of the year, it's just basketball," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "They've been having school and study hall. They've had a lot coming at them.

"And even with our scheduling, so many games. So now we get a chance to work with these guys. We've seen some of the things they bring to the table. Now we've just got to get better at it."

Anderson said the time to focus on practice is especially helpful for the Razorbacks' nine newcomers.

"Now they have a better idea of what we're trying to do out on the floor offensively and defensively, and with the guys they're playing with," he said.

DEFENSE, DEFENSE

Daniel Gafford, the Razorbacks' 6-11 sophomore, said defense was a focal point in practice this week after Western Kentucky shot 50 percent from the field (29 of 58) in beating Arkansas 78-77 last Saturday.

"In certain possessions ... we just didn't guard well," Gafford said. "I didn't protect the basket. They were attacking the lane too easily and I was getting buried in the post.

"We have to fix those things going down the stretch because we have a real big conference and we're trying to make it far."

Arkansas played WKU after getting home about 3:30 a.m. last Thursday from a 98-74 victory at Colorado State.

"That loss is going to show us that we're going to have to grind it out, no matter how tired we are, no matter how sluggish we feel," Gafford said. "We've just got to grind it out for the whole 40 minutes. We can't take breaks on certain possessions."

The Razorbacks are holding opponents to 38.0 percent shooting on the season.

Sports on 12/15/2018

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