Home defense: Hogs hold Bulldogs under 30 percent in 70-60 win

By: Bob Holt
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford (10) guards Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton (33) during a game Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas forward Daniel Gafford (10) guards Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton (33) during a game Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas basketball team didn't shoot well, but Georgia shot worse.

The Razorbacks beat the Bulldogs 70-60 on Tuesday night before an announced crowd of 6,738 in Walton Arena despite shooting 41.0 percent (25 of 61) from the field.

That was hot compared to the Bulldogs.

Georgia shot a season-low 29.2 percent (19 of 65) against Arkansas after scorching Texas with a season-high 66.7 percent (32 of 48) in a 98-88 victory at home Saturday.

"I'm just really proud of our guys' effort defensively," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "I really believe our defense is starting to trend up.

"We're probably a little ahead defensively of where we are offensively, but thank goodness that our defense is starting to play at the level that you've got to play in the SEC."

The Razorbacks (12-8, 3-4 SEC) beat the Bulldogs (10-10, 1-6) for the third consecutive time and sixth time in the past seven meetings.

After Georgia guard William Jackson hit a three-pointer to tie the game 52-52 with 6:23 left, Arkansas went on a 10-2 run over a 2:27 span to take a 62-54 lead.

The Bulldogs went 1 of 8 from the field during that decisive stretch with their only basket a dunk by Derek Ogbeide.

"We just came together and honed in," Razorbacks freshman forward Reggie Chaney said. "It was just like, 'Let's stop them on defense and get it out fast,' because they weren't really running with us."

Georgia Coach Tom Crean was asked what caused the Bulldogs to shoot 37 percentage points lower against Arkansas than they did against Texas.

"Missed layups," Crean said. "We missed a lot of layups. We missed a lot of close, easy baskets and not just because they have a shot blocker in Daniel Gafford.

"We had self-inflicted wounds at the basket, and then we didn't make enough free throws."

Georgia hit 15 of 29 free throws compared to 15 of 22 from the Razorbacks.

The Bulldogs also struggled from the perimeter, making 7 of 24 on three-pointers after hitting 12 of 17 against Texas.

"They scored 98 points and we hold them to 60 points," Anderson said. "I've been saying our defense is getting better. Maybe they had something to do with that or maybe it was some of our guys. But I thought our guys were pretty active."

Crean said he felt the Bulldogs, who trailed 31-29 at halftime, should have been up by 10 points at that point instead.

"We hurt ourselves offensively on those close, easy baskets," he said. "That's my recollection of the game as much as anything right now."

Crean eventually got around to praising the Razorbacks' defense, which also forced 16 turnovers.

"They bring a lot of pressure to the game and they got us some," he said. "We made a couple of bad passes and a couple of guys were extremely soft with the basketball, which you cannot do against them.

"Of all the teams in the league, they're the most that you feel you're playing 5 versus 6 or 5 versus 7, because not only the way they put pressure, but because of the way they run at the ball.

"It always feels like there's more people out there, and that's a compliment. I think that's one of the reasons they're so good is because it seems like there's more people."

Sophomore guard Mason Jones led Arkansas (12-8, 3-4 SEC) with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

"I thought Mason was big tonight," Anderson said. "I thought he really stepped up and played well for us. Got six rebounds and had four assists, and the thing I'm real proud of, he didn't turn it over."

Gafford, the Razorbacks' 6-11 sophomore, had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocked shots while being limited to 22 minutes because of foul problems.

Arkansas sophomore point guard Jalen Harris had 13 points and hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 1:17 to help the Razorbacks maintain their lead.

Jones hit 8 of 14 shots and and 5 of 6 free throws, including 3 of 4 in the final 27 seconds to clinch the victory.

"Yeah, he was really good," Crean said of Jones, who wears No. 13. "We put a lot of emphasis on [Isaiah Joe] and Jones, and we didn't do a very good job on 13. He really moved and got to his right hand extremely well, he got loose. Very, very good scorer."

Joe, a freshman who has been battling a cold, scored a season-low three points on 1 of 4 from the field, but his lone basket was a big one. His three-pointer gave Arkansas the lead for good at 55-52 with 5:04 left.

"It told a lot about him," Anderson said of Joe's clutch basket. "He was spent. But never did he say, 'Hey, I don't want to play.' That's a good characteristic to have, especially as a freshman."

Arkansas junior forward Adrio Bailey had eight points and Chaney had 6 points, 6 rebounds and a career-high 5 blocked shots in 25 minutes off the bench.

Ogbeide and sophomore forward Nicolas Claxton each scored 14 points to lead Georgia.

"It was a good win," Anderson said. "It wasn't a thing of beauty, but at the same time in the SEC games are going to be like that. You've got to find a way to win. So we found a way to win. We found a way to defend the home court."

The Razorbacks had 14 blocked shots -- their most ever in an SEC game. Five Razorbacks had at least one block, including one by Jones.

"Our defense has been real good lately," Jones said. "We've been taking pride in it a lot, knowing that if we can play good D, we can win a lot of games.

"Now we just have to bring our offense along with the defense. But the defense tonight was great."

Game sketch

RECORDS Arkansas 12-8, 3-4 SEC; Georgia 10-10, 1-6

STARS Arkansas sophomore guard Mason Jones (23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and sophomore forward Daniel Gafford (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks)

TURNING POINT The Razorbacks used a 10-2 run to break away from a 52-52 tie and take a 62-54 lead.

KEY STAT Georgia shot 29.2 percent (19 of 65) from the field.

Sports on 01/30/2019


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