Arkansas defeats Rogers State in exhibition, 83-49
Arkansas’ No. 10 outshot Division 2 Rogers State, 83-49, to open exhibition play Monday night in Fayetteville, Ark., in what was Bud Walton Arena’s debut for the Razorbacks and l one of the last two opportunities to work on the kinks before the start of the fast approaching regular season.
First year guard Joseph Pignon led a balanced offense for Arkansas with 15 points, including four three-pointers. Trevon Brazil joined him in double figures and scored through the box with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Arkansas was suffocating defensively in the first half, limiting Rogers State to just 4 of 25 shots in the first half and used a heavy dose of high-flying play over the rim to build a 37-20 cushion at the break. . The Razorbacks used a 7-0 midway through the second half to push their lead to 20 and never looked back as everyone got involved the rest of the way to the exhibition win.
Anthony Black, Nick Smith, Jordan Walch, Trevon Brazil and Jalen Graham got the starting nods for Arkansas in their opener against Rogers State. After the two teams traded turnovers, the Razorbacks entered the board first as Smith was fouled on a three-point attempt and converted two of his three free throws.
Black recovered from a backdoor with an emphatic block and Smith buried a three from the right corner on transition to push Arkansas ahead 5-0 just over a minute into play. Smith converted another pair on the line to cap his personal score of 7-0 to open the game with 17:44 left in the half.
Rogers State got on the board with a pair of free throws and a midrange jumper, but a steal and a tough inside finish by Brazile gave Arkansas a 10-4 lead in the first timeout. media with 15:44 on the clock.
Smith hammered a dunk back in place after a missed three from Brazile, but Rogers State cut the deficit to 12-9 with a wing third on the next trip to the floor. Graham found Tip Ricky cutting to the basket for a lay-up, and Arkansas extended their lead to 17-9 when the Board returned the favor by hitting Walsh for a basket cut and reverse finish with 12:30 to go.
After a stagnant streak, Black knocked fans out of their seats with an authoritative two-handed dunk that sparked a 9-0 run, which included Makhi Mitchell making his presence felt with a blocked shot and a hook, a corner three from Brazile and another inside basket to push the lead to 26-11 with 7:49 left in the first half.
Musselman received a technical foul for contesting a questionable charge call, but the frenzy put another jolt in the Hogs as Makhel Mitchell came with a big block and Black hit Brazile on the other end for a slam alley-oop to make it 28-13.
Joseph Pignon checked into the game and quickly drilled a three on his first touch of the game to push the lead to 18 with just under six minutes on the clock.
Black came away with another highlight play, hammering an alley-oop dunk over a defender. The Council added a transition finish, and Arkansas punctuated the half with a steal from Black and another lob dunk for Brazile to send the Hogs into the half with a 37-20 lead.
Jalen Graham opened the second-half scoring for Arkansas with a difficult face-up spin move and a contact dunk and transition finger roll to push the lead to 42-22 less than a minute away. after the start of play. The Hogs gave up a field goal but quickly responded as Brazile beat the Hillcats to the ground for another slam to force a timeout with 18:16 remaining and Arkansas up 20.
Rogers State responded with a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to 44-29 before the first halftime media timeout with 15:33 on the clock. Arkansas snapped a scoreless streak lasting more than two and a half minutes after the break as Walsh and Council knocked down three of four to the charity strip, 47-29.
Jordan Walch scored the next two baskets for Arkansas with a driving score and a third wing. Makhi Mitchell continued his strong performance with a grand slam that increased the lead to 54-31 as time slipped below 12 minutes to play.
Arkansas remained aggressive around the rim – although the Hogs struggled to cash in on the free throw line – but a hoop finish and hurt par Kamani Johnson pushed the lead to 62-35 with 9:45 to play.
Pinion caught fire for Arkansas on the stretch, nailing a three-point trio, the last of which put the Razorbacks up 77-45 with just over four minutes remaining, and the Hogs went the rest of the way to secure an exhibition win in Bud Walton Arena.
FINAL BOX SCORE
— Curtis Wilkerson (@CurtWilkerson_) October 25, 2022
Arkansas will travel to Austin, Texas on Saturday, October 29, for a charity exhibition against Texas. Tipping between the Razorbacks and Longhorns in the all-new Moody Center is scheduled for 3 p.m. (CT). From there, the Hogs will open the regular season at home against North Dakota State on Nov. 7.