On the Road Again
After a disappointing outcome against South Carolina, the Razorbacks hit the road for another conference matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide. For those who have followed the Hogs in recent years, hitting the road is typically not a good sign. The biggest knock against recent Razorback teams has been their ability to win consistently on the road. This is not the case for Musselman’s team however. Entering Saturday’s game, the Hogs were .500 on the road going 3-3. After defeating Alabama for their fourth road win of the season, Eric Musselman made some history. When comparing the number of attempts it took him to get four road wins to Arkansas’s most recent head coaches’ number of attempts, the numbers are a little mind boggling. (Tweet from @HawgHoops)
Razorbacks Key Contributors
Jones scored 30 points for the second straight game, becoming the first Razorback to do so since 2002. More impressively still was his efficiency; Jones shot 50% from the field, including 57% from 3PT. His average points per game now sits just below 20 at a team high 19.8. Oddly enough however, Jones shot an uncharacteristic 46% from the FT line, making only 6 out of 13 attempts.
Jimmy Whitt Jr
Whitt has been the unsung hero basically all season. Isaiah Joe has been up and down draft boards. The nation is taking notice of Mason Jones’s scoring. However, Jimmy Whitt might just be this team’s most valuable player. He’s been as consistent as they come when shooting from the free throw line or close. This game was no different as he shot 58% from the field and poured in 26 points. When you’re two leading scorers combine for 56 points on 54% shooting, you stand a decent chance at winning most ball games.
Harris has been a pivotal part of this Arkansas team. Musselman is a big fan of not needing much depth in the college game. This is evident in his starting guards’ average minutes per game. Jimmy Whitt, Isaiah Joe, and Mason Jones average 36.6, 36.0, and 33.1 minutes per game respectively. Desi Sills isn’t far behind averaging just over 30 MPG as well. However, after starting all of last season, Harris has transitioned seamlessly to a 6th man role. He comes off the bench and plugs holes wherever Musselman needs him to. All season he has found open scorers, attacked the defense, and improved upon his three point shooting.
This game did not offer eye turning stats for Harris, but his presence was felt down the stretch. Harris hit a clutch three pointer late in the game to give the Razorbacks a four point lead. Not long after, he went 2/2 from the FT line, adding another nail to the coffin. With Isaiah Joe injured and struggling, Harris did everything asked of him to help the team pull out this win.
Due to a rumored injury sustained by Adrio Bailey (only played 6 minutes), Reggie Chaney got the nod to join the starting lineup against Alabama. He responded. Chaney was tenacious on the boards all night. He tied a career high, and set a new SEC career high, with total 11 rebounds. After going 1/4 from the FT line in a game the Hogs only lost by two points, Chaney stepped it up against Bama shooting a respectable 3/4 at the charity stripe.
Earlier in the season, Chaney had a moment of lost composure, earning himself a technical foul and a seat beside coach Musselman in the game at LSU. The next game against Ole Miss only included four minutes of action for Chaney. Since then however, he has averaged upwards of 19 minutes per game while providing 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. He has even started the last two contests. His ability to bounce back from that mistake that proved to be of fatal cost to his team is not talked about enough. It could have been very easy for Chaney to put his head down and pout about being benched. Instead, he has played smarter and contributed more in nearly every game after the incident.
Razorbacks Host Ranked Opponent
Coming off of an impressive road win in conference play, the Razorbacks turn their attention to the team coming to town on Tuesday night. The explosive, #11 ranked Auburn Tigers started the season on a 15 game win streak before losing two in a row to SEC opponents. Since their conference stumble, the Tigers have rattled off four more in a row, including a big time win against #13 Kentucky at home. The Tigers leading scorer is 6’4 senior guard, Samir Doughty. Doughty averages 15.1 PPG while shooting only 39.4% from the field. Even more in the Hogs favor, Doughty averages only just over 13 PPG on the road, two points less than his season average.
The bigger issue, and I do mean bigger, will be the 6’11 senior big man in the middle. Austin Wiley is averaging roughly 9.2 rebounds per contest along with just over 10 points. With Adrio Bailey playing very limited minutes against Alabama and the Hogs year long struggle against size, I would predict that Wiley surpasses his season average in both points and rebounds against the Hogs. Musselman will have his hands full finding ways to slow this impressive Auburn squad.
11 Auburn – 19-2 (6-2)
@ Missouri – 10-11 (2-6)
@ Tennessee – 12-9 (4-4)
Mississippi State – 14-7 (5-3)
@ Florida – 13-8 (5-3)
For coverage exclusively on the Hogs, check out the OTHArkansas twitter page!
Head over to our shop if you are interested in purchasing some Overtime Heroics gear!
Check out our partners at Repp Sports! They offer the first-ever crowd-sourced, no carb, no sugar, energy drink called RAZE and much more! Use the link above or add the promo code OTH1 for 30% off at checkout!