In the Lane:

Gafford plays big in 2nd half

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2018
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford (10) celebrates after a Texas-San Antonio turnover in the second half of the Razorbacks' 79-67 win on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.
Photo by Thomas Metthe
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford (10) celebrates after a Texas-San Antonio turnover in the second half of the Razorbacks' 79-67 win on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

After a sluggish first half, Daniel Gafford looked like a future NBA player and helped the University of Arkansas to a 79-67 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Saturday night.

Gafford, the Razorbacks' 6-11 sophomore, finished with 13 points at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock after having 2 points on 1-of-2 shooting in the first half along with 2 turnovers in 12 minutes.

In the second half, Gafford hit 3 of 4 shots and 5 of 8 free throws.

"Well, he needed to do that," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought that first half, he wasn't very good. I'll be straight up.

"Second half he was much, much better. He was much more involved in the game. I thought it made a big difference."

Anderson said Gafford was more aggressive in the second half.

"I didn't think Daniel was positing up strong initially," Anderson said. "He made himself small on the floor. I think he had to be more alert about what was taking place.

"I thought in the second half we did a good job of moving Dan around, and now he's getting the ball in different positions. Screen and roll, get out on the fast break, and guys penetrating and finding him. So I thought we did a much better job in the second half as opposed to that first."

Anderson said Gafford didn't let himself be pushed around inside in the second half.

"You have to remember, Daniel's a sophomore, too," Anderson said. "He's learning as he goes because he's that target now. People are really getting after him, getting physical with him, so he's got to match that physicality."

Gafford had a career-high 14 rebounds.

"He's just a rebounding monster," Arkansas freshman guard Isaiah Joe said. "That's all I can say."

Gafford's previous rebounding high was 12 rebounds, which he's had five times, including against Texas, Indiana and Florida International this season.

"That's Daniel being Daniel to me," Arkansas sophomore guard Jalen Harris said. "He does it every day in practice, so obviously it's going to relate to the game, how athletic he is.

"He's 7-foot. It's hard to box somebody out like that."

Take care

Razorbacks point guard Jalen Harris had 10 assists without a turnover in 34 minutes against UTSA.

"You think about Jalen Harris," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said, "he played quite a few minutes tonight and the guy still didn't have a turnover.

"That's a guy taking care of the basketball and making sure to feed the big guy [Daniel Gafford]."

Harris has 68 assists and 9 turnovers on the season.

"I don't know what to really say," Harris said. "Coach A is on me a lot in practice. I turn it over more in practice than I do in a game.

"He tells me just be careful with it. Be aggressive, but stay smart. So I try to do that in game situations."

Taking charge

Arkansas drew charges on back-to-back possessions in the first half.

Isaiah Joe drew a charge from Giovanni De Nicolao with 2:46 left in the half, and Jalen Harris hit a 15-foot jumper for the Razorbacks on the resulting possession.

Gabe Osabuohien then drew a charge from Byron Frohnen at the 2:04 mark. After Arkansas inbounded the ball, Osabuohien hit a layup.

2 times 5

Arkansas guard Mason Jones and UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson both fouled out on the same play with 43.9 seconds left and the Razorbacks leading 69-63.

Jackson was called for his fifth foul when he made contact with Mason, who retaliated with an elbow and was called for his fifth foul as well.

The officials huddled with coaches Mike Anderson of Arkansas and Steve Henson of UTSA for eight minutes going over the calls.

"I'm going to be like everybody else," Anderson said with a laugh when asked whether he could recall seeing players from both teams foul out on the same play. "I'll look at the tape and then I'll formulate my opinion, OK?

"That's what everybody says. I'll get back with you on that."

First one, too

UTSA played its 1,100th game Saturday night.

Arkansas also was the opponent for the Roadrunners' first game Nov. 30, 1981, when UTSA started its basketball program.

The No. 18 Razorbacks beat the Roadrunners 71-42 at Hemisfair Arena in San Antonio.

Don Eddy, USTA's first coach, was friends with Eddie Sutton, who was Arkansas' coach from 1974-1985.

Sutton agreed to a three-game series with UTSA to help Eddy's new program. Sutton's Razorbacks also beat the Roadrunners 78-59 at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville during the 1982-1983 season, and 74-67 at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock during the 1984-1985 season.

3-point streak

Arkansas has hit at least one three-point basket in 986 consecutive games.

Freshman guard Isaiah Joe hit a three-pointer 55 seconds into the game to extend the Razorbacks' streak.

The last time Arkansas didn't hit a three-pointer was Jan. 7, 1989, at Texas, but the Razorbacks won 99-92. The Razorbacks attempted two three-pointers with Lee Mayberry and Cannon Whitby each missing.

Sports on 12/16/2018


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.