Tue, 09 Aug 2022

No. 10 Arkansas, Central Arkansas both have room to improve

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2021, 04:05 GMT+10

No. 10 Arkansas has been impressive over the first three weeks of the season, but the team remains a work in progress.

The Razorbacks (6-0) will look to take another step forward when they host Central Arkansas on Wednesday in Fayetteville, Ark.

They climbed three spots in the Associated Presspoll on the strength of a championship in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri and, most recently, a 76-60 victory at home over Penn on Sunday behind 28 points from JD Notae.

It's been 26 years since Arkansas hosted a game as the No. 10 team in the nation. The last time was Feb. 18, 1995, against Ole Miss.

Sunday's victory was accomplished without the services of Au'Diese Toney for all but 55 seconds of the second half and without a point from Chris Lykes, who entered the game averaging better than 15 points off the bench.

Toney was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul early in the second half after scoring 12 points. Stanley Umude, a transfer from South Dakota, picked up the slack, racking up 11 of his season-high 19 points in the second half.

The Razorbacks outrebounded Penn 44-28 and earned a 48-22 advantage in points in the paint, but also committed 15 turnovers against the Quakers' zone defense. Arkansas shot a season-high 50.8 percent from the floor despite making just 3 of 17 from 3-point range.

"Turnovers are a huge problem -- a huge issue," Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. "Not happy at all. Penn is not a team that turns people over. Taking care of the basketball, we have to get a lot better at. I wish we could practice right now, but we can't."

Umude, a graduate transfer who scored more than 1,500 points in his four seasons at South Dakota, had not scored more than 10 in any of the Razorbacks' previous five outings.

"It was just a next man up (mentality)," Umude said after the win over Penn. "We have a deep team. It was just me having to come in and fill that missing void. I'm just still trying to get comfortable with the offense and figure out where I'm going to be most effective."

Central Arkansas (1-6) travels to Fayetteville after a 75-66 loss to Presbyterian in the UNO Classic in New Orleans on Friday, the Bears' third consecutive defeat. Camren Hunter scored 16 points to lead Central Arkansas in the setback while Collin Cooper added 15 points for the Bears.

Central Arkansas trailed by just two points at the half but struggled with its shooting in the second half, hitting just 38.7 percent from the floor and only 2 of 13 from beyond the arc.

"I have confidence in every one of our guys taking shots from outside," Central Arkansas coach Anthony Boone said after the loss. "They're just not falling for us. But until that happens, we've got to get better defensively, we've got to get better rebounding, and we have to finish around the basket better.

"And we did a pretty good job of that (against Presbyterian). So that's a good sign going forward for when our shooting finally hits like it should. We'll be a lot to deal with."

All six of the Bears' losses have come away from home -- three true road games and three neutral-site contests.

Arkansas and Central Arkansas have played just once previously, a 100-75 win by the Razorbacks in Fayetteville last season.

--Field Level Media

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