With the 89-49 win over High Point Saturday night, the Arkansas basketball team finished the 2013 calendar year undefeated at home and moved Arkansas’ home win streak to 22 games, the fourth-longest streak in the country.
The Razorbacks defense controlled the game. They forced a season-high 25 turnovers off of a season-high 17 steals and scored 36 points off turnovers. Head coach Mike Anderson is now 18-1 at Arkansas when forcing 20 or more turnovers.
Ten different players finished with at least one steal. Senior Kikko Haydar finished with four steals and freshman Bobby Portis added three.
High Point forward John Brown came into the game averaging 18.7 points per game but the efficient Arkansas defense held him to only nine points in 25 minutes. He had only three points going into the second half.
Arkansas needs to continue to shut down leading scorers as they play their Southeastern Conference schedule. Players like Jordan Clarkson, Jordan McRae, Marshall Henderson and Julius Randle have the ability to score and Arkansas needs to be able to stop them in order to win.
The frontcourt dominated the game once again. Portis, Moses Kingsley and Coty Clarke each scored in double figures. The trio combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds. Portis and Kingsley were each one rebound shy of having a double-double, scoring 16 and 12 points, respectively. Portis has now reached double figures in eight consecutive games. Clarke also added 11 points to help the Hogs outscore the Panthers 46-14 in the paint.
Sophomores Michael Qualls and Anthlon Bell also scored in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Qualls has reached double digits in 11 of 12 games this season and leads the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game. Good news for Arkansas was Bell’s 11 points, who had been cold since the team’s return from the Maui tournament.
It was the fourth time this season that Arkansas had five players score double digits and the sixth time this season that they shot over 50 percent from the field. They were hot and shot 34-of-66 (52 percent) from the floor. They were also 14-of-17 (82 percent) from the free throw line, where they have struggled most of the season. High Point finished each half with only nine field goals and finished 38 percent (18-48) from the field.
Arkansas barely won the boards 35-31, something they need to work on to be able to win games in the SEC. But, they controlled the offensive boards with 15 rebounds and turned them into 27-second chance points. They also handed out 22 assists on their 34 field goals, which marked the third time in the last six games that Arkansas has had 20 or more assists.
The Hogs have gone unbeaten since their loss to Gonzaga last month in the Maui Invitational and are currently on the longest winning streak of any SEC team, with six wins. During the win-streak they are beating their opponents by an average of 30 points.
Arkansas will round out their non-conference schedule Saturday Jan. 4 as they face The University of Texas-San Antonio in Bud Walton Arena.