Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year twice.
Hogs dominate Rams in first road game
Arkansas' Daniel Gafford (10) dunks over Colorado State's Adam Thistlewood (31) during an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Coloradoan via AP)
The University of Arkansas basketball team passed its first road test in a big way.
The Razorbacks beat Colorado State 98-74 on Wednesday night at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo. It was the first true road game for Arkansas (6-1), which won its sixth consecutive game since opening the season with a 73-71 loss to Texas at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, in the Armed Services Classic.
Sophomore guard Mason Jones led the Razorbacks with 16 points. He hit 5 of 10 shots — including 4 of 8 three-pointers — and 2 of 2 free throws.
Arkansas freshman guards Isaiah Joe and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson each scored 14 points. Embery-Simpson doubled his previous season-high of seven points.
Sophomore forward Daniel Gaffed had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for the Razorbacks. He scored 10 points in the second half after playing eight minutes in the first half because he had two fouls.
Sophomore point guard Jalen Harris had a career-high 12 assists, 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals for the Razorbacks.
“We knew coming in it was our first true road game, so we had to respond and show people what we’re really made of,” Harris said on Arkansas’ postgame radio show.
Arkansas freshman forward Reggie Chaney had season-highs of 11 points and 8 rebounds, and junior forward Adrio Bailey had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Razorbacks shot 52 percent from the field (38 of 73) and hit 14 of 28 three-pointers.
“When you’re on that road, man, you’ve got to be able to shoot the basketball,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said on the postgame radio show. “What a tremendous effort by our team. I thought our energy was really good.”
The Razorbacks had 28 assists on 38 baskets.
“That’s trusting one another,” Anderson said.
Led by Chaney and Embery-Simpson, the Razorbacks outscored the Rams 38-7 in bench points. Arkansas freshman guard Desi Sills scored 8 points, and sophomore forward Gabe Osabuohien had 5 points and 5 rebounds.
“That’s the best our bench has played, and it’s good to see, especially on the road in a different environment,” Anderson sid. “I just know the potential’s there.
“They’ve just got to continue to have confidence and faith in what they’re doing and believe in themselves. I’m trusting them to put them out there, so they’ve got to trust themselves to go out there and lay it on the line.”
Senior guard J.D. Paige and freshman guard Kendle Moore each scored 16 points for Colorado State (4-5).
Rams junior forward Lorenzo Jenkins, who began his college career at Arkansas, didn’t start for the first time this season and was scoreless in five minutes off the bench. Jenkins came into the game averaging 9.3 points and 22.5 minutes.
Arkansas opened the second half by outscoring Colorado State 22-10 — including back-to-back three-pointers by Joe and six points inside from Gafford — to take a 65-43 lead with 14:51 left.
The Rams answered by outscoring the Razorbacks 17-2 over a 2:36 span to cut Arkansas’ lead to 67-60 with 12:15 left.
Gafford dunked to start a 13-0 run by Arkansas as the Razorbacks rebuilt the lead to 80-60 on Jones’ layup with 8:13 left after a Gafford steal.
Colorado State didn’t pull closer than 16 points the rest of the game.
The Razorbacks jumped out to a 12-2 lead as Jones went 3 of 3 on three-pointers, and Joe hit a three-pointer.
Colorado State pulled within 14-11 with 16:13 left in the first half on Paige’s three-pointer.
Keyed by the bench, Arkansas outscored the Rams 13-2 over a 4:49 span — including five points by Embery-Simpson and four by Chaney — to push its lead to 27-13 at the 8:27 mark when Gafford scored his only points of the half by hitting two free throws.
Nico Carvacho’s layup cut Colorado State’s deficit to 41-33 with 56 seconds left in the half.
Embery-Simpson’s three-pointer with 32 seconds left in the half gave Arkansas a 44-33 halftime lead.
Arkansas’ next game is against Western Kentucky (4-4) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Walton Arena. The Hilltoppers lost 84-78 at Missouri State on Wednesday night.
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