Anthony Black stands out in Arkansas basketball win over Louisville
Anthony Black had been quietly solid in Arkansas basketball’s first three games. He was averaging six points per game on 33% shooting with a maximum of 10 against Fordham.
In No. 9 Arkansas’ 80-54 win over Louisville at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii on Monday, Black was a standout. His 26 points led all scorers and were more than he had in his first three games combined.
The freshman point guard was 9 for 11 from the field and 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. He had six assists, two steals and three rebounds.
“My teammates have put a lot of faith in me and trust me to have the ball,” Black said. “I know I have a lot of talent around me, so there’s not really any pressure on me to do everything. We have a lot of good players, so I can just let the game come to me.”
Black’s effort was among Arkansas’ best shooting performance of the season so far. The Razorbacks (4-0) were 57% from the field against Louisville (0-4). Two other Razorbacks, Ricky Council IV (15) and Makhel Mitchell (10), were in double digits.
‘DUNK OF THE YEAR’:Social media reacts to Trevon Brazile’s dunk for Arkansas basketball – even LeBron James
SOCCER:Arkansas football is bowl eligible. What bowl game will the Razorbacks do?
Arkansas defense excels again
With the victory over Louisville, Arkansas held a fourth straight opponent under 60 points. The Razorbacks forced 22 turnovers in Louisville, 10 of them on steals.
The Razorbacks, primarily Davonte Davis and Black, held Louisville’s El Ellis to 11 points. He entered the contest averaging 24 per game.
Louisville forces Arkansas to shoot early, but Razorbacks pull away late
Arkansas was not a particularly strong shooting team in its first three games. Louisville seized on that weakness early and crowded the paint, forcing the Razorbacks to settle for midrange jumpers and 3-pointers.
That plan worked early, with Arkansas missing its first four jumps, including three misfires from beyond the arc. But Arkansas found its groove outside the paint, and the Razorbacks made their most 3-pointer this season with 8 of 22. The board was 3-for-7 and Jordan Walsh was 2-for-5.
Arkansas hitting their shots forced the Louisville defense out of the perimeter, which opened the door for the typical Razorbacks dominance on the inside. Arkansas scored 26 points in the paint in the second half versus 12 in the first. In total, nearly half of the Razorbacks’ total points came in the paint.
The Razorbacks have been a solid team over the edge so far, and Monday was no exception. Arkansas went on a six-minute, 17-0 late streak that included five straight dunks.
Makhel Mitchell makes an impact
Forward Makhel Mitchell had averaged just five minutes per game in Arkansas’ first three games. On Monday, he played 20, and he made them count.
Mitchell came off the bench and had 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting. The Rhode Island transfer was excellent on defense, with two big blocks and a team-high six rebounds.
Arkansas will face No. 8 Creighton in the semifinals on Tuesday (7 p.m. CT, ESPN).