Postgame Thoughts: Arkansas 75, Ole Miss 64

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Arkansas guard C.J. Jones (23) shoots for a 3-pointer over Mississippi guard Markel Crawford (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Petre Thomas/The Oxford Eagle via AP)
Arkansas guard C.J. Jones (23) shoots for a 3-pointer over Mississippi guard Markel Crawford (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Petre Thomas/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

Some postgame thoughts and notes following Arkansas' road win over Ole Miss:

Hall thrives in win

As the television broadcast stated several times throughout the second half, Darious Hall was Arkansas' MVP.

Hall contributed in a big way during Arkansas' 18-1 run that ultimately helped the Hogs pull away in the final eight minutes. He finished 3 of 4 from the 3-point line - 1 of 7 at the foul line - and recorded his first career double-double.

Hall was relentless on the glass, grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds - five of which came on the offensive end. It was his first game reaching double figures since an impressive showing in the loss at Texas A&M. He had similar energy tonight, and you could see his confidence skyrocketing.

That kind of play is exactly what Arkansas needs for the remainder of the season. The Pavilion was pretty dead tonight aside from when Ole Miss got hot to start the second half. But Darious brought his own energy and it became contagious. Mike Anderson had to love every bit of it.

The freshman also finished with three assists, tying a career-high. Getting back to his 3-point shooting for a moment, Hall has now knocked down 6 of his last 7 from deep dating back to the first time Arkansas and Ole Miss met. His game tonight offset what was an unusually inefficient night from Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon.

Hall then capped his big night with a vicious dunk. The best part was he did all of that in just 22 minutes. He was active, energetic and took advantage of his opportunities. I'm eager to see if he can carry this into Saturday against Texas A&M.

Beard provides lift

Anton Beard takes some heat for his tendency to take some inefficient shots, but he truly provided Arkansas a lift Tuesday.

Beard scored 13 points on 5 of 10 from the floor in the win, his most in an SEC game since adding 16 against LSU in January of 2017. He entered the game averaging 7.5 points on 39 percent from the floor in SEC games, but he delivered some really big shots. His second half 3 immediately following Darious Hall's took all of the air out of the arena and the Rebels.

He also snapped Arkansas' string of 11 consecutive misses with a 3-pointer with more than seven minutes to go in the first half, kicking off a 12-1 run to put the Hogs up six as Ole Miss couldn't buy a bucket.

That is the senior leadership and shotmaking Arkansas needs from him. His 3 of 4 night from deep could be a pick-me-up moving forward.

Dominant Gafford

Daniel Gafford is officially becoming a force in this league. Tuesday, he led Arkansas with 19 points and six rebounds in only 20 minutes thanks to foul trouble early on.

This was also a showcase of his maturity, too. After picking up those two fouls within the first two minutes of the game, he could have shied away and become less aggressive. He did the exact opposite, finishing 6 of 7 from the floor and contributing to Ole Miss' 7 of 14 mark on shots at the rim.

Gafford has now scored in double figures in four straight games and appears to be coming into his own following a rough three-game stretch in the middle of conference action.

He also was not a liability at the free throw line tonight, connecting on 7 of 10. As Ole Miss rallied to within one with eight minutes to play, his free throw shooting, at the time, was the difference in the game. Those seven makes tie a career high.

His play on Saturday will be key. Tyler Davis and Robert Williams are both among the best forwards in the league and rank near the top of the SEC in blocks. Should he turn in efforts similar to his last two then Arkansas will be in good shape. But it will be anything but easy.

Macon's streak comes to an end

Daryl Macon's streak of seven straight 20-point games was going to come to a close at some point, but I don't think we expected it to happen like it did.

Macon scored a season-low four points in the win on 1 of 6 shooting. He did, though, find teammates for easy buckets, and none were prettier than his oop to Daniel Gafford early in the second half.

The senior finished with six assists Tuesday, his most since the last time the teams met in Fayetteville, pushing his assist-to-turnover ratio to 2.2:1 for the season.

He and Jaylen Barford didn't have their typical nights offensively (1 of 11 from 3 and 6 of 20 FG), but that's where Mike Anderson's role players came up huge.

Daryl was not on the floor for the final eight minutes of the game and wasn't himself scoring the ball tonight, so we'll see how he bounces back this weekend.

Uncomfortable scene in Oxford

The question coming into tonight following Andy Kennedy's announcement Monday afternoon was where his Rebels would be from a mental standpoint.

It didn't take long to figure out they weren't in a good headspace. Ole Miss shot horrifically in the first half after a quick start, missing on 24 of its final 26 shots. The Rebels' final two possessions of the half - 3 off the side of the backboard, turnover - sum up their night.

Ole Miss then essentially laid down once Arkansas extended its lead late with two quick buckets. Kennedy then called his team's pride into question postgame and said he's unable to reach his players at this point. The six consecutive losses is the longest such streak of Kennedy's tenure.

To say Ole Miss basketball is in a sticky situation would be an understatement.

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