The impressive Razorback run that Eric Musselman and company have put together is nothing short of incredible. Tuesday night, #12 Arkansas (20-5, 12-4) beat South Carolina (6-13, 4-11) on the road by a score of 101-73 to earn their 10th straight SEC victory, six of which have been by a double-digit margin of victory! The 28-point margin of victory was the 3rd biggest SEC road win in Razorback history, a fitting way to extend the impressive Razorback run of late.
It was also the first time since 1995 that the Hogs won four consecutive SEC road games in a season.
Razorbacks Red Hot from Distance
In a game that saw 21 total 3-pointers made, an astonishing 15 of them came from the Razorbacks! The Hogs took a total of 33 attempts from distance, yielding a 45.5% team 3-point percentage, their 3rd highest success rate of the season behind their 50% and 57% shooting performances against Mississippi Valley State and Georgia respectively.
Desi Sills led the barrage from distance with a game-high five 3-pointers made on only seven attempts, shooting 71.4% on the game. Moses Moody (4 made threes), JD Notae (3), Vance Jackson (2), and Connor Vanover (1) also got in on the act from long range.
Beautiful, Beautiful Basketball Leads to 300+ Passes
Coach Musselman has let it be known that he doesn’t try to hide statistics or accolades from players. In fact, he does the opposite and uses them to motivate his players. One such example is the game-to-game goal that Musselman has set for his team in terms of total passes made in each game. This goal is set to inspire ball movement and remind his players that playing together will allow everyone to get better looks at scoring.
Typically, Musselman sets the bar at 200 passes per game, but his Razorbacks nearly broke that threshold in the first half against South Carolina. They accounted for 154 passes in the first 20 minutes of game time and finished the game with a total of 305 passes, a number Musselman said he’s never seen before.
“We had over 300 passes tonight. I’ve never seen that in a college game. We had 305 passes for the game. We had 154 passes in the first half. So many positive things,” Musselman said.
Historic Bench Performance Adds to Impressive Razorback Run
Following up a stat dedicated to sharing the basketball, it’s only fitting to point out the best individual performance of the game. According to @StatsBySTATS on Twitter, JD Notae became the first major conference player to come off the bench and proceed to score at least 20 points (21), grab five rebounds, dish out five assists, and collect five steals in one game.
Notae has been a vital piece to the Razorbacks’ guard rotation all season, and with Tate hitting the bench early again with foul trouble, the 6th man found himself in rare air with a historic bench performance. His teammates took notice and even credited Notae’s play for sparking some of the offensive outburst of the team as a whole.
“JD just doing what we all know JD can do,” Moody said. “I think when you play really good defense like that, and you get a couple steals and couple deflections, it hypes you up and gets you more motivated to play on offense. You just feel better.”
Magic Razorback Numbers
The impressive Razorback run that we’re all witness to has been the result of a full team effort. The Hogs have been a defensive force against nearly every team they’ve faced this season, but their magic number seems to always come on the offensive side of the ball. Because they always seem to do well in limiting opponents’ scoring, the Hogs are nearly unbeatable they score at least 75 points.
The team has scored 75 points or more 18 times this season. In those games, they are 16-2 with their only losses coming at LSU (92 – 76, without Justin Smith) and at Oklahoma State (81 – 77). In games where Arkansas scores 74 or less, they are 4-3, a considerable drop. The Hogs are also 14-0 in games where they score at least 78 points.
In their 16 wins with 75 or more points scored, the Hogs are allowing an average of 69.8 points per game, not far off of their season average of allowing 70.3 points per game. This discrepancy in points allowed aids in demonstrating that the defensive side of the ball has been relatively consistent for the Hogs all season, while their offensive output generally dictates the outcome of the game.
Razorbacks Road Ahead
Up next the Hogs will (probably) host a makeup game against Texas A&M after having two regularly scheduled games postponed due to the Aggies’ COVID issues. Arkansas has already locked up the 2 seed in the SEC Tournament and is awaiting the final weekend of games to find out which teams will make up the 7 vs 10 matchup leading to their portion of the bracket.
Worst case scenario, Arkansas can only finish the season as bad as 20-8 since they have 3 guaranteed games left. This unlikely scenario would still give the Hogs their fewest losses in a season since the 1994-95 season where the Hogs would ultimately lose in the National Championship game one year after winning it all. Will this impressive Razorback run lead to similar success?
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