Mike Anderson may have delivered the defining understatement of the evening.
“There was a lot of scoring going on,” he said after Arkansas had a whopping 117-78 win over Northwestern State at Bud Walton on Monday night.
He could have added they kinda got in the Demons’ way a lot, too. That would have been about as big.
“Our guys played with great energy, they played together, they played unselfish and our defense created some easy opportunities for us and we took the fight to Northwestern,” Anderson said later.
Just as in the days when Nolan Richardson kept trying to tell folks the key to his fast-paced offense was defense, all anybody wanted to talk about was making the scoreboard change a lot.
“The game was up and down like we wanted it to be and when you play that way and guys give us quality minutes, it is good to see,” Anderson said. “It was good to see some other guys knock shots down besides Dusty (Hannahs) and (Anthlon) Bell. But the thing I like is that we didn’t live and die with the 3-pointer.”
The Hogs forced 25 turnovers from the Demons and converted that to 39 points. In hindsight, Northwestern State has already proven a little overmatched this year, being blown out by Ole Miss by 90-76, Auburn by 119-81 and Arizona by 90-76. Arkansas kept pace with that.
Moses Kingsley had his fourth double-double of the season (21 points, 10 rebounds), Dusty Hannahs scored 21 points (3-of-6 on 3-pointers) and Anthlon Bell added 17. The Hogs had seven players in double figures.
Jabril Durham got a double-double, his first, with career highs of 14 points, 10 assists and also had five steals. Freshman Lorezno “Doobie” Jenkins got his first action and hit a 3-pointer for his first career points.
It was the most points scored by Arkansas since they hung 130 on Alcorn State back in November 2010. That’s also when Rotnei Clark hit the school record of 51 points.
“We got off to a slow start, a little sluggish coming off the New York trip last week, but as we got in a nice little rhythm, our defense kind of triggered some offense for us,” Anderson said. “We did a good job in the first half of really attacking the basket, getting to the free throw line and establishing a low post presence.
“I think we shot six 3-pointers in that half and that is probably the least amount of threes we have shot in a half so that means our guys too advantage of the strength we had in this particular game, which was Moses inside.”
After missing their first four attempts from the field, the Razorbacks proceeded to make nine of their next 11 to jump out to a 22-13 lead at the under-12 media timeout.
The Demons used a burst of four three-pointers to go ahead 27-26 five minutes later, but a 15-0 run by Arkansas quickly silenced NSU, as the hosts finished the first 20 minutes with a 54-38 lead. Fifty-four points stood as the highest output of any half for the Razorbacks in the season, until the second half.
Arkansas netted 63 points in the final frame, scoring the first seven points of the half to extend the lead to 23, and continued to add on from there. The Razorbacks shot 55.7 percent for the game, as leading scorers Moses Kingsley and Dusty Hannahs tallied 21 points apiece.
Kingsley also added 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Willy Kouassi narrowly missed out on his first double-double in an Arkansas uniform with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and nine rebounds.
Arkansas has a quick turnaround as the team travels to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to face Wake Forest on Friday, Dec. 4. The Razorbacks and Demon Deacons tip off at 6 p.m.