The Arkansas men’s basketball team (2-0) made quick work of the North Texas Mean Green, 69-54, on Saturday at Bud Walton Arena.
After a slow start for both teams, the Hogs were able to stir up the offense and backed it up with a strong defensive performance. With the game 12 minutes old and tied at 19-19, the Razorbacks closed out the first half with a 19-8 run to take a 38-27 lead at halftime.
The Razorbacks opened the second half on a 9-0 run to take a 47-27 lead with 16:14 left off of senior guard Jalen Tate’s rebound basket. The Mean Green were not able to make it a single-digit deficit for the rest of the contest.
Senior forward Justin Smith led Arkansas in scoring with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Junior guard JD Notae came off the bench with 16. Junior guard Desi Sills added 14 points and freshman guard Moses Moody scored 11.
Sophomore forward Connor Vanover was big defensively for the Razorbacks with six blocks and a career-high 16 rebounds.
“Connor contributed in so many ways,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said. “He only had six points and he only took four shots, but he did a great job impacting the win. So it’s not always about scoring the basketball.”
Arkansas defeated North Texas last season, 66-43, and is now 16-0 all-time against the Mean Green.
Arkansas and North Texas each had 16 turnovers on the night, but the Razorbacks forced more live-ball mistakes. Arkansas outscored the Mean Green 20-11 off of turnovers.
“They were more aggressive and maintained a level of energy to the way they played the game,” North Texas Coach Grant McCasland said. “It really disrupted our offense and led to turnovers, which led to easy baskets for them. That was the difference.”
Junior forward Terence Lewis II led the Mean Green in scoring with 12 points and senior forward Zachary Simmons added 10. North Texas was 21-of-58 shooting, but was 2-of-13 from beyond the arc, while Arkansas shot 23-of-55 from the field and 6-of-22 from 3-point range.
The Razorback men’s basketball team will stay in Fayetteville to take on the UT-Arlington Mavericks on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.