Arkansas Basketball: Portis leads Razorbacks past UTSA

Arkansas Basketball

Bobby Portis (Photo Credit: Gareth Patterson/AP)

In their final non-conference game, Arkansas picked up their seventh straight victory with a 104-71 win over University of Texas-San Antonio Saturday night.

Freshman Bobby Portis led the Hogs with 19 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting and 10 rebounds. He also had three assists, three blocks and two steals that led to fast break dunks. Portis has now scored in double figures in nine-straight games.

Portis continues to improve each game. He is doing a spectacular job early on for the Hogs and needs to continue to do so through SEC play. Arkansas relies on him to be a major scorer and rebounder, every game.

Being a freshman and going into SEC play isn’t going to be easy. He’s been playing a lot of scrubs early on and SEC play could be a major eye-opener to him but he should be able to handle it, without problem. He has a lot going for him.

Rashad Madden got things going for the Hogs as he scored nine points in the first three minutes of the game. He eventually slowed down but finished the game with 15 points, two rebounds, two assists and no turnovers.

The no turnovers stat is huge for Madden, something coaches love to see from their point guard. This just proves how well he is doing his job and his efficiency at his position. Arkansas was unsure how they were going to fill the point guard position before the season, but Madden has done a great job of handling it, so far.

Michael Qualls didn’t have the greatest shooting night as he went 3-of-11 from the field and 0-3 from behind the arc, but still managed to score 11 points. He has now scored in double figures 12 games this season, a team high.

Qualls needs to continue to find his rhythm and score double figures every game. He brings a lot of energy to this team and the team feeds off him. He’s the player Arkansas will look to, to score double-digits consistently every game. If Qualls fails to do so, the Hogs could be in trouble.

Arkansas’ defense stepped up, once again. They forced 28 turnovers and 14 steals. Senior Coty Clarke had five of the Razorback’s steals. The Hogs outscored the Roadrunners 48-12 on points off turnovers. Arkansas only turned the ball over seven times.

The Razorbacks shot 50 percent from the field. If Arkansas continues to shoot 50 percent or better during SEC play, they will be in great shape.

Arkansas will open SEC play Wednesday in College Station against Texas A&M. This is an important game for not only the team, but also fans.

The game against the Aggies will be the first true road game for the Hogs this season. Fans won’t start believing in this team until they begin to win games on the road, something they have struggled with the past couple of seasons.

Wednesday night’s game isn’t really a make or break for Arkansas’ season but a chance for them to prove that they are a different team than past seasons. A win will also bring energy for their back-to-back games against Florida and Kentucky after they return from College Station.