Razorbacks Report:

Missouri knocking down 3s

By: Bob Holt
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Jordan Geist watches a three point shot fly during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
Jordan Geist watches a three point shot fly during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas will face the SEC's most accurate three-point shooting team when the Razorbacks take on Missouri on Wednesday night in Walton Arena.

Missouri is shooting 39.2 percent (141 of 360) on three-pointers to rank 16th nationally.

"I think what's got to be important, we have to be there on the shot," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said of defending the perimeter. "We have to be there when they catch the ball and are ready to shoot and make them drivers, make them penetrate and be in [the defensive] rotation."

The Tigers' top three-point shooters are Mark Smith at an SEC-leading 46.7 percent (42 of 90), Kevin Puryear at 41.2 percent (14 of 34), Javon Pickett at 37.5 percent (18 of 48), Jordan Geist at 36 percent (32 of 89) and Torrence Watson at 35.3 percent (18 of 51).

"They're going to make some shots," Anderson said. "But at the same time, I'd like to see us -- even as they make those shots -- get down the floor and get the tempo going to our liking where it's up and down the floor and utilize our bench."

Arkansas has been good on three-point defense. The Razorbacks hold opponents to 31.3 percent (136 of 435) on three-pointers to rank second in the SEC behind Tennessee at 30.5 percent.

Missouri has the fourth-highest total of three-point baskets among SEC teams after Auburn (188 of 518), Mississippi State (156 of 407) and Florida (151 of 439).

The Razorbacks rank 10th in the SEC in three-point percentage at 33.2 percent (131 and 394) and are seventh in overall makes.

Child's play

With Arkansas not having classes Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the basketball team spent about two hours before practice having fun with local children at the UA's Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building.

"It was real good getting with the kids," sophomore forward Daniel Gafford said. "You get to see the smiles on their faces, and it just warms your heart because you're coming in and doing a good thing with a bunch of kids that don't see people like us every day.

"We come in and we play basketball with them, go to the other court and play volleyball. We do all kinds of stuff and paint their faces."

Coach Mike Anderson said it was good to see the players having fun.

"It's amazing how them just being in that setting and just bonding made it a great event for the kids," Anderson said. "The guy that spearheaded most of it was Daniel out there on the floor.

"I think it was cool. These are kids in our area that don't get a chance to bond with our guys out there shooting baskets. Can you imagine Daniel blocking your shot or you scoring on him?

"I saw a couple of kids trying to dunk on Daniel, so they got a big kick out of that. It was kind of neat to get away from it, the day-to-day grind. But now we get ready to go to the grind."

The community service was a welcome break from the pressure of the season for the Razorbacks, who have lost their past four games.

"It just helps," Gafford said. "It gets us out of the little slump we're in."

Hot line

Arkansas hit 17 of 21 free throws in Saturday's 84-67 loss at Ole Miss for a season-high 81 percent.

Daniel Gafford, who came into the game shooting 57.7 percent (60 of 104), led the Razorbacks against the Rebels by hitting 5 of 6 free throws. Keyshawn Embery-Simpson was 4 of 5, and Mason Jones and Gabe Osabuohien were each 3 of 4.

The Razorbacks' previous high for free-throw shooting was 79.4 percent (27 of 34) in a 79-67 victory over Texas-San Antonio. They have shot 70 percent or better in five games.

New Twitter pic

Daniel Gafford is preparing to shoot a free throw in the new profile photo of his Twitter account -- @Dan_G33.

In his previous profile photo, Gafford was in uniform sitting in a chair with his left hand under his chin in a contemplative pose while he holds a basketball in his right hand.

"It was time for a change," Gafford said when asked about the new photo. "That picture was up there for a while, the last one I had. I just went ahead and changed it."

Gafford said there wasn't any special meaning to having a photo of himself shooting a free throw.

"I just like the picture," he said. "Nothing really big about it."

Beating Aggies

Arkansas and Missouri each have just one SEC victory in a combined nine games -- both at the same place.

The Razorbacks, 1-4, won 73-71 over Texas A&M in their SEC opener on Jan. 5 at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. The Tigers, 1-3, got their first SEC victory when they won 66-43 at Texas A&M on Saturday.

Sports on 01/22/2019

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