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.
Macon a regular for award
Arkansas Razorbacks players cheer after a play by guard Daryl Macon (4) during a basketball game on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas Razorbacks senior Daryl Macon has earned his second SEC Player of the Week honor in a three-week span.
The only other Razorback to do that is Scotty Thurman, who is now an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Macon, a 6-3 guard from Little Rock Parkview, was announced as the SEC Player of the Week by the conference office on Monday after having 16 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds against California State University, Bakersfield and a career-high 33 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds against Tennessee. He hit 14 of 24 shots in the two games — including 7 of 13 three-pointers — and 14 of 16 free throws.
Macon’s 33-point game against Tennessee was the 117th time a Razorback has scored 30 or more points, according to the Arkansas media guide.
Macon is the fourth Arkansas player to be named SEC Player of the Week three times, and he is one of seven Razorbacks to earn the honor twice in the same season since the UA joined the conference for the 1991-1992 season.
Macon had 25 points, 5 assists without a turnover, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in the Razorbacks’ 88-63 victory over Troy on Dec. 16 to earn his first SEC Player of the Week award this season. Last season he was honored after scoring 13 points at South Carolina and 30 against Ole Miss.
Welcome to the SEC
After Arkansas forward Darious Hall, a freshman from Mills, scored a career-high 14 points against California State University, Bakersfield in 17 minutes, he struggled in the SEC opener against Tennessee.
Hall had 3 turnovers in a three-minute span against the Vols, came out with 9:53 left in the first half and didn’t play the rest of the game.
Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said Hall’s inconsistency is typical for a freshman, and they talked about what happened to him in the Tennessee game.
“Just don’t try to go get the game. Let the game come to you,” Anderson said he told Hall. “Don’t try to go get it, especially offensively. Right now, you’re not just an offensive guy. You get your minutes from a defensive standpoint, being a glue guy.
“Let’s do the things that you do, because if you look at his mistakes, they were ball mistakes. Very uncharacteristic. But I understand the nerves going, so he’ll learn from it.”
Arkansas has outscored its opponents 387-236 in bench points this season, but Tennessee dominated the Razorbacks in that category.
The Vols’ bench outscored the Razorbacks’ 33-5 in Arkansas’ 95-93 overtime victory.
It’s the fewest bench points for Arkansas this season and the third time in 13 games the Razorbacks didn’t outscore their opponent.
Arkansas and Oklahoma tied in bench points 21-21 in the Razorbacks’ 92-83 victory in Portland, Ore., in what had been UA’s low score in that category. Houston outscored Arkansas 29-25 in bench points in beating the Razorbacks 91-65 in Houston.
Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said it’s important for his team to get more contributions from the bench tonight at Mississippi State after the starters had to play extended minutes against Tennessee.
Arkansas senior guard Anton Beard, Macon and freshman forward Daniel Gafford all played career highs in minutes with 42, 41 and 33 respectively. Senior guard Jaylen Barford, who was limited to 10 minutes in the first half because he had two fouls, played 35, one less than his career-high 36 against Minnesota earlier this season. Senior forward Dustin Thomas played 27 minutes against Tennessee before fouling out.
“That’s hard to do at the pace and the level that we want to play,” Anderson said of the starters’ minutes against the Vols.
In the poll
Arkansas, which debuted in The Associated Press poll this season at No. 22 on Monday, is 396-111 all-time as a ranked team.
The Razorbacks are 14-8 under Coach Mike Anderson, with all 22 of those games played during the 2014-2015 season.
Arkansas last was ranked going into the 2015 NCAA Tournament when the Razorbacks were No. 18.
Key minutes for Cook
Arkansas senior forward Arlando Cook played 13 minutes against Tennessee, but that included the entire five-minute overtime period and 3:43 of the final 3:53 in regulation. He came out the final 10 seconds of regulation when Coach Mike Anderson inserted guard C.J. Jones so the Razorbacks would have another perimeter shooter on the floor.
Anderson said he “completely forgot” Cook in the first half when he didn’t play as Tennessee took a 38-31 lead, but that he wanted him on the floor with the game on the line.
“Because his play dictates he needs to be out there on the floor,” Anderson said.
Cook finished with one point and two rebounds and didn’t take a shot from the field, but Anderson said he does things to help win that don’t show up in the box score.
“He’s a guy that does all the little things,” Anderson said. “Whether it be screening to get guys open, popping out to get the ball to reverse it. Fixing things on defense. He can guard a guard, he can guard a forward.
“He plays with that edge that I like. To me, he’s one of those glue guys to make everybody else better, and he can play in big moments.
“I just thought we were in a much better flow with him out there on the floor.”
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