Hogs cruise to win in 1st road test at Colorado State
Six players scored in double figures to carry Arkansas to a dominant 98-74 victory over Colorado State in its first true road game of the season.
Mason Jones scored 16 points and Jalen Harris dished 12 assists in the Razorbacks’ sixth consecutive win, handing the Rams their fourth straight loss.
Arkansas quickly established its preferred pace, creating open shots in transition while building a 12-2 lead to open the game. The Hogs’ first four made field goals all came from behind the arc, with Jones and Isaiah Joe leading the barrage.
Colorado State’s JD Paige single-handedly pulled the Rams back into the game with three made three-pointers in three possessions and helped cut Arkansas’ lead to 18-13.
The Razorbacks responded with a 14-2 run to give Arkansas a double digit lead it would maintain through most of the first half.
With Daniel Gafford on the floor for just eight minutes in the first half, the ball flowed through the forwards who picked up the production. Gabe Osabuohien led both teams at the break with a 43.6 percent usage rate. The sophomore had five points and four rebounds in six first-half minutes.
Reggie Chaney also served as a go-to target, scoring nine points in 11 minutes. Chaney also pulled down five boards and blocked a Paige three point attempt in the final second of the first half.
Jones scored nine points in the half, with each bucket coming from deep. He was responsible for half of Arkansas’ made threes in the first half.
While the Razorbacks were balanced offensively, they were suffocating on the other end. The Rams hit on just 34.5 percent of their first-half shots and had few second-chance opportunities as Arkansas held a 25-15 rebounding advantage.
The Razorbacks led 44-33 at the break and opened up a 10-1 run in the first three-plus minutes of the second half.
Joe drilled his second and third three-pointers of the game on Arkansas’ first two possessions of the half. Jones then poured in five points and a Harris dunk opened up a 59-39 lead.
As if the three ball and added production from role players wasn’t enough, Gafford dropped his first field goal of the game with just under 16 minutes remaining. He followed it up with another bucket just before the first media timeout of the half and then finished in the post with a foul on the other side of the break.
That layup gave Arkansas a 22-point lead but it was diminished in a matter of two minutes. A blistering 17-2 Colorado State run forced Mike Anderson into a timeout with the Hogs up 67-60 with 12:15 remaining in the game.
Quickly squashing any flashbacks of the last time an Arkansas team played in Fort Collins, the Razorbacks answered with a 13-0 run to rebuild their lead of 20-plus points.
The run put Arkansas in cruise control, with Desi Sills scoring eight points down the stretch accompanied by a pair of Keyshawn Embery-Simpson three pointers.
Embery-Simpson finished with 14 points, as did Joe. The two guards combined for eight triples on 14 attempts.
Harris became the first Hog with back-to-back 10-plus assist games since Courtney Fortson in 2009. Arkansas had 28 assists as a team while also shooting 52.1 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep.
Arkansas returns home on Saturday when it hosts a reeling Western Kentucky team. The Hilltoppers have lost three of their last four since beating West Virginia. Tip is set for 2:30 and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network.