Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
In the Lane:
Hogs get hands-on vs. Dawgs
Georgia guard Tyree Crump (4) drives to the hoop past Arkansas defenders Gabe Osabuohien (22) and Keyshawn Embery-Simpson (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 in Fayetteville. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas protected the rim in record fashion Tuesday, blocking 14 shots and holding Georgia to 29.2 percent shooting in a 70-60 victory at Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks posted their highest block total ever against an SEC team and the fourth most in school history to further frustrate Georgia's poor shooting night.
"We're really athletic," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "Our guys were really active at the rim."
The block party was highlighted late in the game by freshman Reggie Chaney, who slapped away back-to-back shots by Rayshaun Hammonds. After Daniel Gafford rebounded the second block, Chaney got out on the break and converted a layup from Mason Jones for a 62-54 Arkansas lead.
"I am a little surprised because they were actually bigger than us," Chaney said. "I don't know, it's just being athletic. Blocking shots is timing, and it's something we work on."
Chaney led the way with a career-high 5 blocked shots, while Gafford added 4. Gabe Osabuohien and Jalen Harris blocked two shots each, and Mason Jones had one.
Jones said he wasn't aware the Razorbacks had that many blocks.
"I was in the moment of the game," Jones said. "I just kept seeing people's shots get blocked, and I was thinking: 'Just keep doing what you're doing.' "
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford had one of his weirder outings of the season.
Gafford did not have an official shot attempt in the first half while logging nine minutes and picking up two fouls. The 6-11 Gafford finished 3 of 4 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free-throw line for 11 points to go along with 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 turnovers and 2 assists in 22 minutes.
Gafford was fouled on both of his first-half shots and converted all four free throws.
After a short stint to start the second half, then a long stay on the bench, the sophomore took his first shot of the night at the 11:05 mark, a driving air ball in which he got off balance and fell to the court. Gafford powered in on the Hogs' next two possessions, converting a short one-hander, then driving the baseline for a reverse dunk.
Georgia beat the Razorbacks all over the boards with a final margin of 56-32, the Hogs' worst deficit of the season.
"We were just very active on the glass," Georgia Coach Tom Crean said. "One of our coaches ... said in the locker room, 'Every rebound is going to be like a loose ball. You're like a slot receiver coming across the middle. You either hit or you're going to be hit.'
"I was proud of the way we competed on the glass."
Rayshaun Hammonds had 13 rebounds and E'Torrion Wilridge joined him in double figures with 10. Georgia has out-boarded its past two opponents by a combined 38 rebounds.
At one point midway through the second half the Bulldogs were more than doubling the Hogs with a 38-18 rebounding lead after an extended period on the bench for 6-11 forward Daniel Gafford.
Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe is still recovering from an illness, and he appeared off his game in a shorter-than-normal outing.
Joe went scoreless on 0-of-2 shooting until late in the game. He broke a 52-52 tie and put Arkansas in the lead for good on a three-pointer from the right corner from Mason Jones at the 5:04 mark.
"They got the kick-out to Joe in the corner," Georgia Coach Tom Crean said. "That one hurt us."
The Fort Smith Northside product finished 1-of-4 shooting with 3 points in 21 minutes.
Georgia took the lead on its first possession on Nicolas Claxton's drive against Daniel Gafford, and the Razorbacks struggled to catch up.
Arkansas took its first lead at 22-21 on Mason Jones' layup in transition after a pair of missed free throws by Claxton to cap a 20-10 run.
Asa in house
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended the game and sat a couple of rows behind the Georgia bench. Hutchinson, a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina (1972) and the University of Arkansas School of Law (1975), is serving his second four-year term after being re-elected in November. Late in the second half, Hutchinson was shown doing a Hog call on the large video boards.
Arkansas point guard Jalen Harris made a steal and hit a layup in transition with two seconds left in the half to give the Hogs a 31-29 lead at intermission.
It was the second consecutive game a Harris shot broke a tie just before halftime. The sophomore from Wilson, N.C., hit a three-point shot from just inside half court at the buzzer to give Arkansas a 33-30 lead at Texas Tech on Saturday.
Arkansas' Adrio Bailey somehow missed a dunk early in the second half.
Bailey drove by a couple of defenders and stretched out to just get the ball over the rim. As the ball settled into the net, the force of Bailey's dunk try shook the rim and caused the ball to spin up and out of the twine. A basket would have given Arkansas a 35-31 lead at the 16:45 mark.
Bailey scored six consecutive Arkansas points early in the second half on interior shots.
Freshman Desi Sills hit the first three-pointer of the night for the Razorbacks, a nearly straightaway shot from the top of the circle with 12:53 left in the first half that cut Georgia's lead to 12-10.
Sills' long shot extended Arkansas' streak to 997 consecutive games with a made three-point bucket.
On the line
Georgia shot 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) at the free-throw line, including 2 of 11 by left-handed big man Derek Ogbeide. When Ogbeide missed a pair of free throws early in the second half, the last miss caromed back at his ankles and he stuck out a foot as if making a kick save in soccer.
Arkansas made 15 of 22 free throws for 68.2 percent, including 8 of 12 in the final 1:34 by Daniel Gafford, Jalen Harris and Mason Jones. Jones went 5 of 6 from the line to lead the Hogs, while Gafford and Harris were both 5 of 7.
Georgia rebounded four of its first six missed shots and converted the offensive boards into seven second-chance points while snagging an 11-2 lead.
The Bulldogs had made 4 of 10 shots at that point, while Arkansas was 1 of 5 with no offensive rebounds.
Arkansas got its first offensive board at the 14:07 mark of the first half when Reggie Chaney pulled down a missed three-point try from Isaiah Joe.
• Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson improved to 4-1 in head-to-head games against Tom Crean, whom he faced four times while both were coaching in Conference USA.
• Razorbacks play-by-play announcer Chuck Barrett celebrated his 56th birthday Tuesday.
• Arkansas forward Gabe Osabuohien drew the first charging foul of the game, as Georgia's Nicolas Claxton bowled over him at the 10:55 mark of the first half.
• Arkansas point guard Jalen Harris impressed the Walton Arena crowd by popping to his feet while on his back after drawing an offensive foul against Turtle Jackson.
Sports on 01/30/2019
CORRECTION: Gov. Asa Hutchinson is a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina (1972) and the University of Arkansas School of Law (1975). His alma mater was listed incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.
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