MAUI, Hawaii – On the strength of a 30-10 run to open the second frame and five players in double figures, the Arkansas men’s basketball team turned a five-point halftime deficit into a convincing 87-73 win over Big Ten foe Minnesota Tuesday morning on ESPN2 at the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational held the Lahaina Civic Center.
The win moves Arkansas to 4-1 on the young season and sets up a showdown with No. 11 Gonzaga (5-1) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT on ESPN2. Receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll, Minnesota (5-2) has held three opponents in the 50s this season, but gave up 52 second half points to Arkansas.
“This is a good win for us, especially after a disappointment last night against California,” said head coach Mike Anderson. “Short term memory, that's what we talk about. But I was proud of our guys, the effort, and the way they finished off the game in fine fashion. I put a challenge in front of them. I liked the toughness, especially going to the glass, loose balls, and competing for 40 minutes.”
Anderson’s challenge was answered with balance on both ends of the court, as five players reached double figures for the second time this season while the Razorbacks shot 55 percent (30-55) from the floor, 47 percent from three (8-17) and 86 percent (19-22) from the line against a Gopher defense that came in allowing just 63.8 points per game while limiting opponents to less than 40 percent from the field.
Making his first start as a Razorback after averaging 15.8 points off bench in the first four games, redshirt Alandise Harris led the team in scoring for third time this year with 15 points and six rebounds. Highly-touted freshman forward Bobby Portis added 12 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Michael Qualls grabbed a team-high eight boards to go along with his 10 points that featured three dunks. The trio accounted for a majority of Arkansas’ 33-27 edge on the glass, marking the first time Minnesota has been out-rebounded.
The final two double figure scorers for Arkansas came at the point guard position, as redshirt senior Fred Gulley III and junior Rashad Madden each had 10 points. The duo combined to go a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point land, while orchestrating an offensive attack that had 19 assists on 30 made field goals.
Gulley III and Madden were also a big part of Arkansas #Fastest40 attack on the defensive end that resulted in Minnesota committing 16 turnovers – five above its average – that led to 23 points for the Razorbacks and 36 points in the paint. Several of Arkansas’ nine steals led to its season-high seven dunks, highlighted by four in the second where the Razorbacks shot a blistering 17-of-28 from the field and 13-of-14 from the line.
Minnesota was led by Austin Hollins’ 17 points, while Malik Smith came off the bench for 15 of his 17 points in the first half. For the game, the Gophers shot 46 percent (25-55), but were limited to just 10-of-32 in the second half.
Trailing 40-35 at the half, Arkansas opened the second half on a game-changing 30-10 run that saw it hit 9 of its first 12 from the field and come away with points on 11 of its first 14 possessions. Eight different players scored during the run for the Razorbacks, as they also turned up the pressure on defense to the tune of forcing Minnesota into seven turnovers over the first 11 minutes and just 3-for-16 shooting from the field.
Sophomore Anthlon Bell finished with eight points on a pair of threes, while freshman Moses Kingsley had all of his season-high seven points in the second half, including a highlight-reel dunk off of a steal at midcourt.
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