Hogs win despite lots of woes

By: Bob Holt
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2018
Gabe Osabuohien (22) of Arkansas attempts a shot as Caleb Hodnett of Tusculum fouls him in the first half Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, during an exhibition game in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Gabe Osabuohien (22) of Arkansas attempts a shot as Caleb Hodnett of Tusculum fouls him in the first half Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, during an exhibition game in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A lot of things went wrong for the University of Arkansas basketball team on Friday night.

Daniel Gafford, the Razorbacks' preseason All-SEC sophomore forward, got in early foul trouble. The Razorbacks had way too many turnovers and missed free throws.

But even with those problems, Arkansas beat Tusculum 96-47 before an announced crowd of 6,114 in Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks, who have nine newcomers, outscored the Pioneers 66-23 in the second half after leading 30-24 at halftime. They had 22 turnovers and hit 21 of 39 free throws.

"Now you see why I say I've got to have some patience with this group here," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "Obviously, we see there are some talented guys, but this was their first game against a team other than themselves.

"That first half, I thought it was stage fright, or whatever you want to call it. Nerves were going."

Freshman guard Isaiah Joe led the Razorbacks with 18 points and hit 6 of 9 shots, including 5 of 8 three-pointers.

Redshirt sophomore guard Jalen Harris had 13 points, 7 assists and 3 steals.

Freshman forward Reggie Chaney, who helped the void inside when Gafford was on the bench, had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals. Freshman guard Keyshawn Embery-Simpson scored 13 points.

Gafford finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 18 minutes.

"Daniel probably played better with four fouls than he did early on," Anderson said. "But we saw some of the potential in some of these guys."

Senior guard Donovan Donaldson led Tusculum -- an NCAA Division II school in Greenville, Tenn. -- with 11 points

Arkansas opened the second half with a 14-0 run as Harris hit a pair of three-pointers and had an alley-oop pass to Chaney for a fastbreak dunk to take a 44-24 lead with 16:42 left.

The Razorbacks continued to pull away and led by as many as 51 points in the second half.

"We lacked energy and defensive effort in the first half," Joe said. "I think we came out with good defensive intensity and a lot of effort in the second half."

Tusculum jumped out to an 8-0 lead as the Razorbacks missed their first five shots.

"The main thing with us is we have nine new guys," Harris said. "Everybody had the little jitters and settled down and started playing. We came out in the second half ready to go."

Gafford went to the bench with 18:40 left in the game after picking up his fourth foul on an offensive move on which he barely drew contact.

Anderson took Gafford out of the game, but instead of the Razorbacks struggling without their star, they started to get the running game going.

"I mean, we're not centered around one person," Joe said. "We're a team."

By the time Gafford got back into the game with 10:24 left, Arkansas led 59-33.

"It was good to see our guys in the second half when Daniel wasn't in there," Anderson said. "The lead just kind of surged and I thought it was because of our pressure defense.

"We were moving the basketball, guys were running the floor and we were getting loose balls."

The Razorbacks shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half (22 of 33) and finished at 52.6 percent (32 of 61).

"You saw the Little Piglets tonight," Anderson said. "They reared their heads early on, but I thought in the second half they were a lot better."

Gafford played eight minutes in the first half because of fouls. He picked up his third foul at the 8:14 mark and went to the bench with Arkansas leading 19-14.

"I think it's a lesson learned for him," Anderson said of Gafford's foul issues. "He's got to see how they call it in a game.

"He's going to be a target and he's got to be mentally prepared for that. So I think for it to happen here, obviously he can learn from it and he'll be able to get more into the flow of the game."

Arkansas was 8 of 20 on free throws in the first half.

"We were horrendous at the free-throw line," Anderson said. "I know that's got to be nerves."

Sports on 10/27/2018

Discussion

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