The Arkansas men's basketball team was able to glide past UT-Arlington with a 72-60 win Wednesday night.
The game started with graduate senior forward Justin Smith scoring the first basket, which has become ritual.
Neither team could manage much separation early. After 10 minutes, the Razorbacks only led by three.
Freshman forward Jaylin Williams was able to collect three rebounds, a steal and a block for the game after got some early minutes after not seeing the court in the previous game against North Texas.
“Jaylin is earning the trust of his teammates and the trust of the coaching staff that he’ll go in and do whatever the team needs him to do,” head coach Eric Musselman said after the game. “Tonight I thought he was really really good… I was glad we got Jaylin in the game a little bit earlier… I couldn’t be happier with the way that Jaylin Williams has played.”
Arkansas was able to start pulling away late in the half after a technical foul on UT-Arlington’s coach Chris Ogden, doubled up with another foul, gave the Razorbacks four free throws and they were able to go up by eleven. They took that eleven point lead to the half, 44-33.
In the first half, freshman guard Moses Moody and redshirt sophomore center Conor Vanover combined for 20 points, shooting 7-7 including 4-4 from behind the arc.
Early in the second half, the Razorbacks went on a 13-0 run to put them up by 21 with 13 minutes to play. Moody led the run with six of the 13 points.
Right at the 10-minute mark, Moody made a layup that put the team back up 20 and gave him 23 points for the game. After that, the team started to really struggle, scoring just six points in the last 10 minutes.
“I was not happy with how we finished the last eight minutes,” Musselman said. “But having said that there's not many teams, whether it's the number one ranked team in the country, there’s very few teams that play 40 minutes of flawless basketball. So we went through our bad stretch to end the game.”
Despite the bad finish, Arkansas was able to hold on and win its third straight game by double digits and improve to 3-0.
Moody led Arkansas in scoring despite struggling to shoot in the first two games.
“Lately I’ve just been searching for a role,” Moody said after the game. “Searching for my role with the team, cause I’m a role player… Everyone has a role on their team to help their team win, so I’ve just been searching for mine.”
He finished with 24 points and nine rebounds. He was able to control the game and spark the offense.
“For a freshman to go out in his third game and get you 24 and nine and ten (free throw attempts) is really, really impressive,” Musselman said.
Graduate senior Jalen Tate made his mark. He filled the statsheet with 14 points, six rebounds, and four assists, adding a block and a steal on defense.
“Jalen’s got great size, great length,” Musselman said. “He’s a very very good rebounder at the point guard spot. He’s really worked on his three point shooting, he knocked one down tonight. He’s really valuable for us for sure.”
The Razorbacks’ next game is Saturday, December 5 against the Lipscomb Bisons in Bud Walton Arena at 5 p.m. It will be broadcast on SEC Network+.