Hogs keep glass clean in victory
FAYETTEVILLE — While the University of Arkansas struggled with its jump shooting for stretches of the first half, the Razorbacks made up for it with strong offensive rebounding during their 86-66 victory over North Carolina-Charlotte on Tuesday night.
Arkansas actually dominated the glass on both ends, coming out with a 41-21 rebound advantage.
But their first-half work on the glass was game-changing. For the game, Razorbacks corralled 15 offensive rebounds and converted them into 18 second-chance points while shooting 53.1% from the floor. Arkansas overcame a stretch of 2-of-11 shooting in the opening half with a 7 of 9 spurt later in the half.
“I thought our rebounding tonight, especially in the first half, was so dominant,” Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman said.
The offensive board work was stronger in the first half, when five players combined to snare 11 offensive rebounds and turn them into 14 points.
Arkansas led in offensive rebounding 11-0 at one point in the first half.
“Offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding is always a focus for us, and we knew coming into this game we could do that and get a lot of offensive boards and create second-chance opportunities,” Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams said on the Razorback Sports Network.
Au’Diese Toney led the way with 3 offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, followed by 2 each from Davonte Davis and Williams. Connor Vanover and Trey Wade each had one offensive board in the opening half.
The 49ers did a much better job of keeping the Razorbacks from attacking the offensive glass in the second half, when Stanley Umude added two rebounds on that end and the Razorbacks just had four.
Arkansas sophomore Jaylin Williams scored a career-high 15 points against North Carolina-Charlotte.
The 6-10 forward’s previous high was 13 points in an 81-66 win over No. 6 Alabama on Feb. 24 last season at Walton Arena.
Fans who stayed around to the end got to witness one of the game’s highlight plays: Williams’ behind-the-back pass to Davonte “Devo” Davis for a short bank shot to give Williams his second assist.
“I don’t know I just saw Devo cutting and I just kind of threw it,” Williams said with a laugh on the Razorback Sports Network.
Arkansas guard Davonte Davis hit a career high in assists for the second consecutive game by dealing out eight against the 49ers.
Where Davis had all seven of his assists in the first half of last Saturday’s 93-78 win over the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he spread them over both halves Tuesday. The 6-4 guard had two assists in the opening half and saved his last for the final minute, setting up Khalen Robinson’s three-pointer with 36 seconds left to set the final score.
The Razorbacks shot 23.1% (3 of 13) from three-point range to add another bad chapter onto what has been a struggle in the early season.
Arkansas entered the game shooting 48 of 166 from beyond the arc, a 28.9% rate that ranked 308th in the country. The Hogs will take a 28.5% shooting clip from long range into Saturday’s game at Oklahoma in Tulsa.
After making better than 40% from three-point range in back-to-back early games against Gardner-Webb and Northern Iowa, the Razorbacks have gone 22 of 107 (20.6%).
Arkansas got separation in the first half with two lengthy runs, the first one starting midway through the period.
The Razorbacks broke from a 14-14 tie with an 8-0 spurt, started by JD Notae’s short left-hand bank shot. Davonte Davis made a putback, then Notae powered in for a driving layup and Au’Diese Toney cashed in two free throws to make it 22-14.
The 49ers climbed back to within 22-18, but Arkansas had another run up its sleeve. Notae also started the spree with a second-chance basket. Jaylin Williams and Davonte Davis added jumpers, then Chris Lykes made a three-point shot to cap the 9-0 run with Arkansas on top 31-18.
Forward Jaylin Williams stuck a hand out to intercept a pass from the 49ers’ Clyde Trapp at the top of the circle with less than a minute left in the opening half.
Williams, 6-10, drove 55 feet quickly and made an uncontested dunk on the one-man break for a 41-31 Arkansas lead for the final points of the half.
Arkansas opened at 9-0 for the second consecutive year. The Razorbacks won their first eight games of the season each year under third-year Coach Eric Musselman.
Arkansas notched its 17th consecutive regular-season win and its 20th in its past 21 regular-season games. The 17th consecutive in-season win is the fifth-longest in Arkansas annals, 14 shy of the record of 31 consecutive regular season wins between Jan. 17, 1977, and Jan. 12, 1978.
The Razorbacks have won 15 consecutive games at Walton Arena, tied for the fifth-longest streak in school history.
Big Joe home
Former Arkansas center Joe Kleine was back on campus calling the game on the SEC Network along with play-by-play commentator Richard Cross.
Kleine provided insight on the Razorbacks after watching practice and the team shoot around, particularly on its need to defend back-door cuts.
The first offensive series didn’t end well for North Carolina-Charlotte. Aly Khalifa, a 6-11 forward, backed down Arkansas forward Connor Vanover and tried a short turn-around jumper. The 7-3 Vanover slapped the shot back and Au’Diese Toney corralled the ball to start Arkansas on offense.
Vanover also had a blocked shot early in the second half against Khalifa, then added a reverse high off the glass while standing under the basket with his back to the goal.
The Arkansas student section has started this year to pick out one player from the visiting team and to boo that player the entire time he is in possession of the ball.
That player on Tuesday was No. 0, guard Clyde Trapp. Play by play announcer Richard Cross confessed on the air he didn’t understand why the booing was taking place before a producer clued him in.
The Razorbacks used the starting lineup of guards Davonte Davis, JD Notae and Au’Diese Toney and forwards Connor Vanover and Jaylin Williams for the eighth consecutive game. That ties for the third-most consecutive starts for a lineup under Coach Eric Musselman.
The longest streaks were 11 consecutive games by the group of Davis, Vanover, Moses Moody, Justin Smith and Jalen Tate last year, and the quintet of Desi Sills, Jimmy Whitt, Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones and Adrio Bailey during the 2019-20 season.
• Arkansas improved to 2-0 all time vs. North Carolina-Charlotte. The first meeting resulted in an 80-67 Razorback victory on Dec. 28, 2011.
• Arkansas forward Stanley Umude went 0 for 6 from the floor and went scoreless for the first time in a game in which he took a shot since Feb. 11, 2018.