Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
No. 14 Hogs block 15 shots, improve to 2-0
Arkansas forward Trevon Brazile (2) reaches to defend Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, as Gardner-Webb guard Caleb Robinson attempts to enter the lane during the first half of play in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE — A strong end to the first half erased a slow start, and the 14th-ranked Arkansas basketball team cruised after halftime of a 86-68 victory over Gardner-Webb on Friday at Bud Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks (2-0) closed the first half on a 19-5 run to take a 48-36 halftime lead.
Four blocked shots, including three by Trevon Brazile, within the first five minutes of the second half led to runouts the other way. The Razorbacks led 59-40 with 14:51 remaining when Tramon Mark sandwiched an and-1 layup and free throw around a media timeout.
The Arkansas lead grew to as many as 26 points on Chandler Lawson’s three with 4:30 remaining. The Razorbacks did not score again as the Runnin’ Bulldogs closed on an 8-0 run.
Gardner-Webb (1-1) opened the game 5 of 7 from the floor and took a 13-5 lead when Quest Aldridge made a three-pointer with 16:25 remaining.
But Arkansas fought back quickly. The Razorbacks took their first lead, 16-15, on Mark’s layup with 11:30 to play before halftime.
The teams had 6 ties and 4 lead changes between then and Khalif Battle’s three-pointer that gave Arkansas the lead for good, 34-31, with 5:05 remaining in the half.
That was part of a 14-2 stretch that turned a 31-29 deficit into a 43-33 lead for the Razorbacks.
Julien Soumaoro’s three-pointer with 1:40 left before halftime briefly pulled Gardner-Webb back to within single digits, but Arkansas’ lead never fell below 10 after Battle’s three just before intermission.
Battle, a transfer from Temple, led the Razorbacks with 21 points off the bench for the second consecutive game. Battle made 5 of 9 shots, including 3 of 4 from three-point range, and was 8 of 10 at the free-throw line.
Mark had 14 points, El Ellis scored 13 and Brazile finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks in 24 minutes.
The Razorbacks blocked 15 shots, their most since setting a school record with 18 against Missouri on Dec. 5, 1995. Makhi Mitchell had 4 blocks, Baye Fall had 2 and Mark, Jalen Graham, Joseph Pinion and Jeremiah Davenport had 1 apiece.
Arkansas also won the rebounding battle 46-40.
The blocks contributed to a 25-for-72 shooting performance by Gardner-Webb. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were 6 of 23 from three-point range.
Caleb Robinson led Gardner-Webb with 18 points. Soumaoro added 15.
The Razorbacks shot 30 of 60 overall, 7 of 18 from three-point range and 19 of 31 from the line.
Arkansas won its 37th consecutive non-conference game at Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks are 35-0 in non-conference home games under fifth-year coach Eric Musselman.
Up next for Arkansas is a home game against Old Dominion on Monday at 7 p.m.
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