The holiday break didn’t slow down the Arkansas men’s basketball team’s #Fastest40 style of play, as the Razorbacks set season-highs with 25 forced turnovers and 17 steals on Saturday night in a wire-to-wire 89-48 win over High Point at Bud Walton Arena.
The top team in the SEC in turnover margin each of the last two seasons and leading the way again this year, Arkansas has forced four of its opponents during its current six-game win streak into more or equal turnovers than made field goals as it now stands at 10-2 on the season. The win completed just the third unbeaten home calendar year in Bud Walton Arena history and moved Arkansas’ home win streak to 22 games, the fourth-longest in the country.
"That was a very complete performance by our guys from start to finish," said head coach Mike Anderson
, who is now 18-1 at Arkansas when his team forced 20+ turnovers. "I put three words on the board before these guys came out and one of them was 'stops.' We started that game off with around seven multiple stops. That really ignited our defense and they were everywhere."
A majority of those stops came via the aforementioned 17 steals, as the Razorbacks turned the 25 High Point miscues into a commanding 36-10 edge in points off turnovers and 46-14 margin in points in the paint. The Panthers managed just nine field goals in each half compared to double-digit turnovers in each frame, finishing with a 38 percent (18-48) clip from the field.
The frontcourt trio of freshmen Bobby Portis
and Moses Kingsley
along with senior Coty Clarke
led five Razorbacks in double figures. Both Portis and Kingsley fell a rebound shy of their second career double-doubles, adding 16 and 12 points, respectively. Clarke chipped in 11 points, as the trio combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds. Portis has now reached double figures in eight consecutive games.
Sophomores Michael Qualls
and Anthlon Bell
rounded out the double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Qualls has now reached double-digits in 11 of 12 games, while Arkansas’ balanced attacked has produced five double figure scorers in a game four times this season and at least three in every contest.
For the sixth time this season, the Razorbacks shot over 50 percent from the field, hitting 34-of-66 (52 percent) and 14-of-17 (82 percent) from the free throw line. Adding to its offensive efficiency, Arkansas was able to corral 15 offensive rebounds and turn them into 27 second chance points while also handing out 22 assists on its 34 made field goals. It marked the third time during the six-game win streak that the Razorbacks have passed out 20+ assists, as coach Anderson improved to 78-1 all-time when doing so.
Arkansas’ signature #Fastest40 style of play paid big dividends early, as the Razorbacks forced six High Point turnovers in the first six minutes to jump out to a 13-2 lead. Clarke and Portis combined for the first nine points of the fast start that helped the Razorbacks not trail for the entire 40 minutes for the fourth time this year.
The double figure lead stuck over the final 32:17 of the game, as 12 of 14 players who entered the game scored to help the Razorbacks registered their third 40-point win of the season.
High Point was led by Devante Wallace’s 13 points, while redshirt sophomore John Brown – the Big South Preseason Player of the Year – was limited to nine points and five rebounds, which is well below his season averages of 18.7 points and 8.1 rebounds entering the contest.
Arkansas will close out the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday, January 4, when it hosts UTSA at Bud Walton Arena. Tip is slated for 7:05 p.m.
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