FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas men’s basketball team’s depth flexed its muscles on Tuesday night, as a 40-2 advantage from the Razorback bench led the team to a 89-76 victory over Evansville in Bud Walton Arena.
Dusty Hannahs finished with a season-high 23 points after netting 16 in the first half alone, helping Arkansas climb from an 11-3 deficit to a 44-32 lead after the first 20 minutes. Anthlon Bell had 21 points for the game, including 18 in the second half to carry the Razorbacks to the 13-point win.
The Purple Aces, who entered the evening as No. 44 in the NCAA RPI rankings, jumped out to an early eight-point lead, but the tide turned when head coach Mike Anderson looked to his bench. Along with Hannahs’ 16 first half points, Manuale Watkins added six – and finished with 10 – while Willy Kouassi added seven. They helped Arkansas bring a 12 lead to the locker room, who at one point made 11-of-14 shots as a team.
When the second half started, Bell began heating up. The senior guard was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field in the second half, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. He finished 5-for-6 from deep, while Arkansas finished a program-record 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) beyond the arc. The Razorbacks led by double digits for the entirety of the second half, seeing their advantage jump to as many as 16 as they improved to 4-4 on the season.
“I can’t say enough about our bench. The strongest component of our team, I always thought, has been our bench. It was very evident today that the bench played very well. Dusty had one of those games where he went on a tremendous run, and guys did a good job of finding him.” — Head coach Mike Anderson
“Willy does all the things he needs to do to help us win. He doesn’t worry about the scoring; he just brings toughness and energy to the ball game. That’s good for us when we have a player like Willy coming off the bench bringing energy to this team.” — Senior guard Anthlon Bell
• It was Anderson’s 90th career win at Arkansas; he now boasts a 90-52 (.634) overall record with the Razorbacks.
• Hannahs, Bell and Moses Kingsley have now scored in double digits in all eight games this year.
• Trey Thompson returned to the court for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury Nov. 26 against Georgia Tech. He played four minutes and recorded one assist.
• Jabril Durham led the team with a career-high nine rebounds, seven assists and 35 minutes played. He also added nine points on 3-for-6 shooting.
• With three assists in the game, Watkins has now recorded two-plus assists in all eight games this season.
• Arkansas’ 89 points were the most given up by Evansville since Feb. 12, 2014, in a 104-98 overtime win vs. Illinois State.
The Razorbacks return to the court on Saturday, Dec. 12, when the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles come to Fayetteville for a 7 p.m. tip off in Bud Walton Arena.