Macon finds way off Walton bench

By: Bob Holt
Published: Monday, January 22, 2018
Arkansas Razorbacks guard Daryl Macon (4) shoots a layup during a basketball game, Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas Razorbacks guard Daryl Macon (4) shoots a layup during a basketball game, Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Senior guard Daryl Macon didn't start the Arkansas Razorbacks' last two home games, but he finished strong.

Coming off the bench for the only two times this season, Macon made key plays down the stretch as the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville beat Missouri 65-63 and Ole Miss 97-93 the previous two Saturdays in Walton Arena.

UP NEXT

Arkansas men at Georgia

WHEN 5:30 p.m. Central on Tuesday

WHERE Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.

RECORDS Arkansas 13-6, 3-4 SEC; Georgia 12-6, 3-4

SERIES Arkansas leads 27-15

TELEVISION SEC Network

RADIO Razorback Sports Network

Macon had assists on four of Arkansas' final six baskets against Missouri to help the Razorbacks overcome a 59-53 deficit. He finished with 8 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Against Ole Miss, Macon played 29 minutes and made sure the Razorbacks (13-6, 3-4 SEC) hung on to win by hitting 6 of 6 free throws in the final 36.1 seconds.

After Razorbacks senior guard Jaylen Barford hit 1 of 2 free throws and the Rebels pulled within 93-90 with 19.6 seconds left on a free throw by Breein Tyree, Arkansas inbound passer Daniel Gafford said Macon had a message for him.

"He came and told me -- after I threw it to J.B. one time -- 'Dan, I'm coming to get the ball,' and I said 'all right,' " Gafford said. "So every time I saw him, I just gave him the ball.

"There was one time that I threw it in so quick that I don't think they even wanted to foul him because it was fast."

With less than 20 seconds to play, the Rebels had no choice but to foul Macon when he got the ball quickly. He hit two free throws with 19 seconds left and two more with 8.8 seconds left.

Macon hit 11 of 12 free throws, including two in the first half when Tyree was called for a technical foul.

"I thought he did a good job of getting to the ball," Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson of Macon closing out the Ole Miss game at the free throw line. "I thought that was a big key."

Anderson said he's not afraid of having any of his players at the free throw line, but Macon naturally is his top choice because he's hitting a team-high 84.3 percent (70 of 83) of his free throws.

"That's why you saw him on the technical foul shooting the free throws," Anderson said. "You go with the percentage."

Macon wasn't the only Razorback who shot free throws well against Ole Miss as Arkansas finished 28 of 35.

Freshman forward Darious Hall hit 8 of 8 and Gafford was 3 of 4. Hall came into the game shooting 55.2 percent (16 of 29) and Gafford 53.3 percent (49 of 92).

"Maybe it's their time now," Anderson said. "You have to go through some things to be the player you want to be, so that means now they're paying more attention to that.

"I can talk about free throws and getting in there and putting in extra reps. Now they're seeing, 'I'm shooting 50 percent from the free throw line and that isn't going to help our team.' It was much needed that those guys hit their free throws. Hopefully, they'll continue to work on them because we're going to be a team that gets to the line because we're an attacking team."

Attacking the basket is a big part of Barford's game as he showed with 23 points against Ole Miss along with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. He hit 8 of 11 shots.

"As I tell everybody, 'That goal does not move,' " Barford said. "Once I go to the hole and I see that rim and I see somebody's body and I get it like I want to, I'm going to make a way for me to get that shot up."

Macon had 20 points and six assists.

"Barford and Macon are as good a combination of players in the backcourt as there is in our league," Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said. "We knew they were going to come out and play, and they made a bunch of big plays. End of shot clock.

"I thought as the game got tight in the second half, they had a couple of huge end-of-the-shot-clock plays, making baskets. That's what you want your veterans to do."

Barford and Macon were among five Razorbacks who scored in double figures, the first time that has happened in SEC play this season. Gafford scored 15 points and Hall and sophomore guard C.J. Jones 11 each.

"It was very big for us to have that," Barford said of the balanced scoring. "It's been a long time, actually.

"It helped out because we had people in the starting lineup making shots and making plays and had people coming off the bench making shots and making plays."

Arkansas had 18 assists on 29 baskets. It was the Razorbacks' most assists in eight games, since they had 27 in a 104-69 victory over Oral Roberts University on Dec. 19.

It was only the second time Arkansas had more than 13 assists in an SEC game. The Razorbacks had 17 assists at Mississippi State.

"Our goal is to get at least 15-plus assists a night," Barford said. "So once we do that, I think we're in good hands. Everything good happens when you see that and the energy just picks up in the gym and we feed on energy and make plays."

It's a formula the Razorbacks hope to duplicate when they play at Georgia (12-6, 3-4) on Tuesday night in search of their first road victory this season.

Barford will turn 22 on Tuesday.

"We need to worry about [winning] our first road game at Georgia and that will carry over," Barford said. "Plus, that's my birthday and we have to come out with a win."

Sports on 01/22/2018

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