Gafford's week gets half honor

Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Arkansas Alabama Saturday, March 9, 2019, during the Razorbacks' 82-70 win in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Visit nwadg.com/photos to see more photographs from the game.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas Alabama Saturday, March 9, 2019, during the Razorbacks' 82-70 win in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Visit nwadg.com/photos to see more photographs from the game.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots in the Razorbacks' victories at Vanderbilt and over Alabama, but he had to share SEC player of the week honors with South Carolina senior forward Chris Silva.

As well as Gafford played, it would be tough to argue with the SEC office's decision to have him share the weekly award, considering Silva averaged 23.0 points, 13.5 points and 2.5 steals in the Gamecocks' victories over Texas A&M and Georgia.

It was the second SEC weekly honor for Gafford this season. He also was named player of the week on Nov. 15 after having 27 points and 12 rebounds in Arkansas' 73-72 victory over Indiana.

More SEC honors figure to be announced for Gafford today when the all-conference teams voted on by the conference coaches and the Associated Press teams voted on by the media are released.

Gafford, a 6-11 sophomore from El Dorado, is averaging 17.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots in 28.6 minutes for the season.

Going on 17

Arkansas' 82-70 victory over Alabama on Saturday improved the Razorbacks' record to 17-14 and guarantees Coach Mike Anderson of finishing a winning record for the 15th time in his 17 seasons as a head coach. He never has finished with a losing record and twice has been at .500, going 16-16 at Missouri in 2007-2008 and 16-16 at Arkansas in 2015-2016.

Anderson is one of four current NCAA Division I coaches who in at least 15 seasons never has finished with a losing record. The others are North Carolina's Roy Williams (30 seasons), Michigan State's Tom Izzo (23) and Gonzaga's Mark Few (18).

Anderson's overall record at Alabama-Birmingham, Missouri and Arkansas is 368-198, including 168-100 in eight seasons with the Razorbacks.

Rebounding mindset

Daniel Gafford came into last Saturday's Arkansas-Alabama game third in the SEC in rebounding with an 8.5 per-game average. Georgia 6-11 sophomore Nicolas Claxton led with an 8.6 average and had 258 total rebounds -- one ahead of 6-9 Alabama senior Donta Hall, who also had an average of 8.6.

After Gafford grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in the Razorbacks' victory over the Crimson Tide, he's the SEC leader with an 8.7 average and 271 total. Claxton is second at 8.6 and with 268 total rebounds. Hall is third at 8.5 and 265.

Gafford doubled Hall's total of eight rebounds against Arkansas on Saturday.

"The mindset coming out was to outrebound him, and the mindset with the team was that we were going to outrebound them, too," said Gafford, who had a combined six rebounds in the two previous games previous with four against Ole Miss and two at Vanderbilt. "I came out and grabbed every board that I could.

"Even when I was tired -- and I was gassed -- I tried to work my way in there and get dirty and try to get at least a couple more rebounds for my team because they're big rebounds. Every single one of them were. That was my mindset -- being a dog on the boards."

Gafford helped Arkansas match Alabama with 36 rebounds each.

It was the first time the Razorbacks weren't outrebounded in 11 games, since they had a 27-25 edge in a 67-64 loss at Texas Tech on Jan. 26. It ended a stretch of 15 consecutive SEC games in which they had been outrebounded.

In Arkansas' first two SEC games, they outrebounded Texas A&M 47-42 in a 73-71 road victory and held a 42-39 rebounding advantage over Florida in a 57-51 home loss.

The Razorbacks are last in the SEC in conference games with a minus-6.8 rebounding margin. They had a minus-4.5 rebounding margin for all 31 games, which also ranks last among SEC teams.

On service team

Arkansas junior forward Adrio Bailey was named to the SEC Community Service Team announced Monday.

Bailey has participated in a number of community service projects sponsored through Arkansas' student-athlete development office, including visiting with children at hospitals and schools, helping at food pantries, taking children from low-income families Christmas shopping, helping provide shoes for an Arkansas Children's Hospital visit at Little Rock.

"I always say yeah, no matter what time it is," Bailey said of volunteering for community service projects when he's asked. "I'll do it in-between classes, before class. If I have an off day I'll do it out of the kindness of my heart."

Bailey also is a member of Arkansas' Student-Athletic Advisory Committee and serves SEC Men's Basketball Leadership Council.

"I'm proud of Adrio," Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said. "He goes out and I think he pours himself into the community.

"He's very involved, so that says a lot about him. The growth that he's had as a person is unbelievable."

Sports on 03/12/2019

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