Current Razorback assistant coach Scotty Thurman and current Chicago Bulls’ power forward Bobby Portis were the only freshmen to score more than 30 points in a game for Arkansas. That changed Dec. 1 when a third name joined that exclusive club as the Hogs (5-1) beat Florida International (7-2) 121-89.
Freshman guard Isaiah Joe had an incredible outing with 34 points, most of which came behind the arc as he made 10 of his 13 3-point attempts. Joe is only the fourth Razorback in program history (Rotnei Clarke, Al Dillard, Pat Bradley) to make 10 threes in a game.
“All of them that made it to that club are great and to be able to follow in their footsteps is just a great honor,” Joe said.
The current Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year paired his record-setting performance while shooting 79 percent from the field, making two rebounds and three assists.
“(Joe) wants to be a great player and he works at it and plays within himself,” Razorback head coach Mike Anderson said. “He’s starting to show more of some of the things he can do. Tonight you saw him handle the ball like a point guard and defensively, he’s well rounded. He’s growing and getting better.”
The Panthers stayed within shouting distance early in the matchup and cut the Razorback lead down to four points before the Hogs, lead by Joe’s 14 points, went on a run to close out the first half leading by 23. Arkansas’ lead never dipped below 17 points for the rest of the game.
“(Joe) did what he was recruited to do,” sophomore forward Daniel Gafford said. “He came up and shot the ball and he was unstoppable from the three (point line). Whatever he wanted, he got tonight.”
Joe’s 34 points came close to breaking the record former Razorback forward Portis set when he scored 35 points as a freshman in the Hogs’ win over Alabama in 2014.
Although he came up short to breaking Portis’ record, Joe did tie Thurman’s freshman mark. Thurman accomplished it twice during the 1993-94 season against Ole Miss and Missouri.
“(Thurman) is definitely a role model to me,” Joe said. “He is one of the best players that came through so this is a big honor.”
FIU came into the game with only one loss and on a four-game winning streak, but the Panthers ran into a brick wall against the first major-conference opponent they have faced in the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ 121 points is the most for the Hogs in a single game since 2009 when they defeated Alcorn State 130-68.
The Hogs shot 61 percent from the field and 52 percent from three. In comparison, the Panthers shot 37 percent from the field and 16 percent from three, making only six of 37 attempts from deep.
Gafford ended with another double-double, scoring 23 points and lead the Hogs with 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Mason Jones and junior forward Adrio Bailey also scored in the double-digits with 19 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore guard Jalen Harris scored nine points and dished out 10 assists with only one turnover.
Senior guard Brian Beard, Jr. led the Panthers with 21 points and junior guard Trejon Jacob followed with 20 points.
Next, the Razorbacks will travel to Fort Collins, Colorado, to face the Colorado State Rams. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. Dec. 5 and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.