Hogs look to bounce back against Rams.

El Dorado News-Times - - Sports - By Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE - Un­for­tu­nately for the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs, they picked up Tues­day night in Fayetteville against the Colorado State Rams where they left off last Satur­day night against the Hous­ton Cougars in Hous­ton.

How­ever, un­like never re­cov­er­ing from Hous­ton’s game-open­ing 11-0 run and em­bar­rass­ingly los­ing 91-65 to the Cougars, the Ra­zor­backs Tues­day night in Wal­ton Arena picked them­selves up from the Rams’ game-open­ing 10-0 run and 13-2 peak at 16:10 of the first half by re­spond­ing with a 19-0 run, romp­ing the Ra­zor­backs to­wards a 47-29 half­time bulge in­creased to an even­tual 92-66 vic­tory.

Coach Mike An­der­son’s Ra­zor­backs of the SEC im­prove to 6-2 and host the Min­nesota Golden Go­phers of the Big Ten Satur­day night at Wal­ton.

Coach Larry Eus­tachy’s Rams of the Moun­tain West and fresh off a home vic­tory over Colorado of the Pac 12, fall to 4-5 and visit the Pac 12’s Ore­gon Ducks Satur­day in Eu­gene, Ore.

Re­plac­ing the five Arkansas se­nior starters that opened trail­ing 13-4, the Ra­zor­backs’ off-the-bench come­back was fu­eled by fresh­man for­wards Daniel Gaf­ford of El Do­rado and Dar­i­ous Hall of Lit­tle Rock Mills and sopho­more guard C.J. Jones.

Gaf­ford gal­va­nized the pre­vi­ously stunned crowd with big shot-block and even­tual big dunk fol­lowed

at 13:37 by com­plet­ing an and-one three-point play.

En­ter Hall tak­ing a charge on one end and hit­ting a 3-pointer on the other be­fore a Gaf­ford put­back gave Arkansas its first lead, 14:13 at 12:04.

A Jones steal and layup fol­lowed by his 3-pointer com­pleted the 19-0 run with Arkansas up 21-13 at 10:15.

Outre­bounded 10-2 at the out­set, Arkansas closed the first-half re­bound­ing gap to 23-17, and amaz­ingly played the first half turnover free to Colorado State’s nine mis­cues.

They outscored the Rams 14-0 on first-half turnovers.

“That’s a big a stat as I’ve seen all year,” Eus­tachy said. ”That’s a bunch of play­ers play­ing to­gether and tak­ing care of the basketball.”

Even with the Rams' hot start, Eus­tachy said he knew An­der­son’s Hogs de­fen­sively would speed tempo and right their ship.

“That was fool’s gold,” Eus­tachy said. “I think the fact they lost to Hous­ton, we caught this team at the wrong time. They cer­tainly played the right team at the right time in us. We’ve lost five times that way. This was way too much Arkansas. Mike is a tremen­dous coach and gets you go­ing too fast.”

An­der­son said his Hogs cer­tainly didn’t start fast un­til his young bench picked up the pace start­ing on the de­fen­sive end and con­vert­ing to easy of­fense.

“The first five or six min­utes seemed like a han­gover from Hous­ton,” An­der­son said. “Seemed like we were play­ing lethar­gic. The thing I like about our basketball team is I think our bench is very, very im­por­tant.

“They came out and brought en­ergy and de­fen­sive in­ten­sity and es­tab­lished our in­side pres­ence with Daniel.

“They had good ball move­ment, 22 as­sists after only seven (at Hous­ton) and of course C.J. comes out and he was light­ing it up. But I thought it was all trig­gered by our de­fense.”

Gaf­ford said the bench in­fused con­trolled en­ergy.

“When we come off the bench, coach looks at us and says, 'Hey, you've got to come in with en­ergy and you've got to come in and de­fend.' If you can't do that, then you're com­ing out of the game,” Gaf­ford said.

“But be­ing in sit­u­a­tions like that, you've got train yourself not to panic. Be­cause if you panic, they're go­ing to ex­tend the lead even more. So we just had to calm down and come to­gether and be able to loosen that lead up some.”

Ra­zor­backs se­nior start­ing guards Jaylen Bar­ford (19 points) and Daryl Ma­con (nine points and a game-lead­ing seven as­sists) as­serted them­selves in the sec­ond half.

They scored nine of the sec­ond half’s first 12 points.

That snuffed any no­tion the Rams would re­peat their hot first-half start in the sec­ond stanza.

Jones, who had 11 first-half points, fin­ished in a team-lead­ing scor­ing dead heat with Bar­ford with 19 points.

Gaf­ford, who had nine first-half points, fin­ished with 14 points along with a team-lead­ing six re­bounds and two blocked shots. Hall added one sec­ond-half bucket after scor­ing six first-half points.

Colorado State guard Pren­tiss Nixon led all scor­ers with 31 points.

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