With Bud Walton Arena rumbling from the cheers of the crowd, the Hogs (19-8, 8-6) looked to keep the winning their four-game winning streak alive and did just that against the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies, 94-75..
Coming into the game, the Aggies were ranked first in the Southeastern Conference with 41.9 rebounds per game, and sophomore forward Robert WIlliams leads the league with 9.5 rebounds per game, but Razorback coach Mike Anderson credited effort as the factor that allowed the Hogs to outrebound the from the team out rebounding the Aggies 45 to 33..
“A big part of defense is rebounding the basketball, and I thought we did a good job of that,” Anderson said.
The Hogs also had four Razorbacks in double digits, including freshman forward Gabe Osabuohien, who helped the team to a victory with 13 points.
The Hogs outshot the Aggies, shooting 49.3 percent from the field compared to the Aggies’ 43.6 percent, but the Razorbacks went 43.5 percent from behind the arc.
The crowd was quiet to start the second half but was quickly on its feet from a huge block by freshman big man Daniel Gafford with 18:05 on the clock. He would then go on to score an and-one. Gafford went 87.5 percent from the free-throw line, which was a pleasant surprise for Razorback fans since he’d struggled from the line in previous games.. He credited his improvement from behind the line as a reflection of the work he puts in during practice.
“I don’t want to be like Shaq,” Gafford said. “No disrespect to Shaq, but I don’t want to be the big man missing free throws.”
Gafford went on to score 18 points in Bud Walton, which was a flipped script from the five-point performance he had in Arkansas’ matchup with Texas A&M on Jan 30.
“I pretty much got punked when we went to Texas A&M last, and I didn’t want that to happen again,” Gafford said.
Along with A&M’s seven turnovers in the second half and senior guard Daryl Macon’s corner three, Bud Walton was electric. Macon had an impressive night from behind the arc, shooting 58.3 percent.
Though the Hogs were up 62-50 with 11:02 left, Aggies sophomore guard Robert Williams knocked down a jumper to close the gap. He finished the night with 20 points, and junior guard Admon Gilder added 20 of his own.
Razorback senior guard Jaylen Barford had a night, as he compiled a game-high 21 points and shot 75 percent from the field, but he gave the credit to sophomore guard C.J. Jones, who scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
“I was grateful,” Barford said. “That’s my son. I have been keeping him in high spirits. C.J. is a great shooter, and I think everyone knows it by now. He does a lot of things for us off on the bench.”
Anderson said he was proud of the effort on both sides of the floor.
“I think we’re playing better,” Anderson said. “This time of year our team starts to put all the pieces together.”
The Razorbacks take on the Kentucky Wildcats (18-9, 7-7) on Feb. 20. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.