Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
UA looks to corner 3-pointers
Arkansas' Isaiah Joe (1) shoots over the top of North Texas' Deng Geu during a game Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe put on a three-point shooting clinic in a 76-72 win at Ole Miss on Saturday.
Joe, who matched a career high with 34 points, knocked down 7 of 13 attempts beyond the arc, sparking the Razorbacks' comeback from an 11-point deficit. In the second half, he connected on 5 of 7 from distance and poured in 26 points.
While it's not surprising Joe made seven threes against the Rebels, which pushed him into seventh place in program history with 172 career makes, it is interesting considering which areas of the floor they came from. Joe has been at his best from three-point range when releasing on the left and right wings, shooting 40.7% and 41.6%, respectively. He had struggled to find consistency in both corners, which is mid-lane extended to the baseline.
Joe was just 6 of 42 (14.3%) from the corners before making 4 of 4 against the Rebels. The Razorbacks were 17 of 78 (21.8%) on corner threes prior to the Ole Miss game, which runs counter to the normal numbers, according to Coach Eric Musselman.
"It's interesting from an analytics standpoint," Musselman said. "In the NBA, almost player for player, team for team, the two corners are the highest [percentage]. And then when you start going foul line extended ... or above, the percentages drop. With our team, for whatever reason, we're the exact opposite."
Joe is now 7 of 22 from the left corner and 3 of 24 from the right corner.
Musselman thinks it's a matter of time before Arkansas' accuracy on corner three-pointers goes up.
"We certainly feel like not just Isaiah, any of our guys, we feel like those corner threes, we should be able to hit at a higher percentage and will, just based on playing more games," he said. "It all evens out at the end of the day.
"But yeah, we've been a little bit shocked with how well we've shot it from above the foul line extended and out, and surprised how we haven't hit it at a high clip in the corners."
Muss and Stack
Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman said he knows Vanderbilt Coach Jerry Stackhouse mostly through interactions with his brother, Tony Dawson, whom he coached in Rapid City, S.D.
"Tony, in my opinion, was probably the best scorer in the last 25 years that I've seen in minor-league basketball that did not play in the NBA," Musselman said. "Tony played at Florida State. Obviously, Stack when he played was known as an incredible competitor. Obviously his scoring speaks for itself. But anybody in the inner circles of the NBA knows what a competitor he was and how hard he played."
Eric Musselman consistently brings up his wife Danyelle's commentary to him, usually at his expense, during his news briefings.
He did it again on Monday after discussing what the Razorbacks did defensively down the stretch to overcome Ole Miss 76-72 on Saturday.
Musselman said he had Jimmy Whitt face guarding hot-shooting guard Breein Tyree, "which turned the game into a 4-on-4 game," he said.
"And then we trapped both their guards with Desi [Sills]. Desi just left his man, and that's called a 'shadow' if it's in the backcourt, or a 'hit' in the front court. We did that the final eight minutes. That worked out good.
"Then my wife was in St. Louis at a dance rehearsal with my daughter, and I told her that story and she said, 'That's great. Why were you so dumb to wait until the last eight minutes to do that?'
"So we thought it was good strategically until I talked to Danyelle, and she actually told me that 'you're a moron' and 'why did you not do that the first 40 minutes?' "
Vanderbilt and Arkansas will carry two of the nation's longest streaks of games with made three-pointers into tonight's 7:30 game at Walton Arena.
The Commodores have made at least one three-pointer in 1,078 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in Division I as one of only three schools that have made a shot from beyond the arc in every game since the line was added for the 1986-87 season.
Arkansas' streak of consecutive games with a made three-pointer is 1,026 games, which is tied with Western Kentucky for the fourth-longest streak.
The 59 story
Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe's three-point shooting is a great way to put the Razorbacks' three-point defense into perspective.
Joe has made 59 of 165 shots from beyond the arc. Arkansas opponents have made 59 of 261 shots from three-point range.
The Razorbacks lead the country in three-point defense by holding opponents to 22.6% shooting.
Vanderbilt is the SEC leader in three-point shooting at 37.5%, but injured guard Aaron Nesmith played a big part in that as a 52.2% shooter (60 of 115) from that range.
Arkansas is the SEC leader with a turnover margin of plus-5.2 per game. That figure ranks 11th in the nation. It helps offset the Razorbacks' rebound margin of minus-5.1 per game, which ranks 330th out of 350 Division I teams.
In SEC play, the Hogs have a plus-6.5 turnover margin, which also leads the SEC. Vanderbilt is fifth in SEC turnover margin at plus-1.4 per game.
Eric Musselman has made it a habit to wear T-shirts sporting the logos of various major UA supporters during his news conferences.
On Monday this week, he wore a T-shirt with the Tyson logo and a Razorback. He sported a Wal-Mart shirt for his post-game remarks after beating Texas A&M 69-59 in the SEC opener.
He also has worn Taco Bell and Pepsi shirts.
ARKANSAS (13-2, 2-1 SEC)
DATE OPPONENT TIME/RESULT
Nov. 5 Rice W, 91-43
Nov. 12 North Texas W, 66-43
Nov. 16 Montana+ W, 64-46
Nov. 19 Texas Southern+ W, 82-51
Nov. 22 South Dakota+ W, 77-56
Nov. 25 at Georgia Tech W, 62-61 (OT)
Nov. 30 N. Kentucky+ W, 66-60
Dec. 3 Austin Peay W, 69-61
Dec. 7 at W. Kentucky L, 86-79 (OT)
Dec. 14 Tulsa W, 98-79
Dec. 21 Valparaiso^ W, 72-68
Dec. 29 at Indiana W, 71-64
Jan. 4 Texas A&M* W, 69-59
Jan. 8 at LSU* L, 79-77
Jan. 11 at Mississippi* W, 76-72
Today Vanderbilt* 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 Kentucky* 3 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Mississippi State* 6 p.m.
Jan. 25 TCU# 3 p.m.
Jan. 29 South Carolina* 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Alabama* 5 p.m.
Feb. 4 Auburn* 6 p.m.
Feb. 8 at Missouri* 2:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Tennessee* 6 p.m.
Feb. 15 Mississippi State* noon
Feb. 18 at Florida* 6 p.m.
Feb. 22 Missouri* noon
Feb. 26 Tennessee* 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 29 at Georgia* 5 p.m.
Mar. 4 LSU* 6 p.m.
Mar. 7 at Texas A&M* 3:30 p.m.
Mar. 11-15 SEC Tournament, Nashville, Tenn.
+Collegiate Hoops Roadshow
^at Simmons Bank Arena, North Little Rock
#Big 12/SEC Challenge
Sports on 01/15/2020
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