FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks crushed Ole Miss in bench scoring during Saturday's 97-93 victory at Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks' reserves accounted for 39 points, their high in an SEC game and fourth highest of the season, and outscored their Ole Miss counterparts 39-12.
Of course it helps the bench scoring when the team's second-leading scorer, Daryl Macon, isn't in the starting lineup, as was the case Saturday.
Macon scored 20 points, including 11-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line, and C.J. Jones added 11 points to spark the reserves.
"I've always said our bench is probably our strongest component, and I thought that came to fruition this afternoon," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "We brought Macon off the bench and it gave us a lot more balance. I thought C.J. had one of those games where he continues to almost break out."
Arlando Cook hit 3 of 4 shots for 6 points and added 3 rebounds, and Trey Thompson chipped in 4 rebounds and 2 points.
"I just thought we came out and played with that edge," Anderson said. "It looked more like our basketball team."
Five for 10
The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville put five players in double figures, with Jaylen Barford scoring 23 points, followed by Daryl Macon with 20, Daniel Gafford with 15, and Darious Hall and C.J. Jones with 11 apiece.
Arkansas had not had five players with 10-plus points since a 95-68 victory over California State University, Bakersfield on Dec. 27.
"I think it's critical to our basketball team," Coach Mike Anderson said. "You're seeing more guys get into double figures. C.J. is getting there. That way we're not just a one-man, two-man team, where if you stop these two guys, you stop the Razorbacks. You stop three guys, you stop the Razorbacks."
The Razorbacks made their first 10 free throws before freshman Daniel Gafford missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 5:17 left in the first half.
Arkansas finished 28 of 35 from the line for 80 percent, its best free-throw shooting in an SEC game by a wide margin, reversing a recent trend.
Darious Hall, a 50 percent free-throw shooter in SEC play, led the way with an 8 of 8 performance from the line, followed by Daryl Macon's 11 of 12. Gafford, who was shooting 41.9 percent in the SEC, made 3 of 4.
"We work on free throws pretty much every day, after practice, before practice," Gafford said. "But those were pretty big free throws we hit tonight, and that's all I can say about that because we just have been working on them. We were a bad free-throw shooting team at the time but you know, we're progressing."
Arkansas entered the game last in the SEC in free-throw shooting on the year (.655) and in SEC play (.573).
"They go 80 percent, and what were they coming in, 57 or 58 percent?" Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said. "Something crazy. That's a credit to them. That's kids just locked in and making shots."
Ole Miss guard Terence Davis made his return to the starting lineup after a two-game hiatus a productive one.
Davis broke out of a deep shooting slump in SEC play by scoring 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. The junior guard entered the game shooting 22.6 percent in six SEC games, including 4 of 33 (12.1 percent) from three-point range.
Davis made 7 of 9 shots, including 2 of 3 from three-point range, in the first half and scored 17 points.
"Yeah, he's really been struggling so it's good to see him aggressive," Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said. "He was really our only productive guy offensively early."
Arkansas guard Anton Beard recovered well enough from the ankle injury he suffered Wednesday at Florida to make his 19th consecutive start.
Florida forward Kevarrius Hayes stepped on Beard's right ankle in the first half and the 6-foot guard did not return in that game. The senior from North Little Rock had 7 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds in 30 minutes against the Rebels.
Arkansas forward Trey Thompson, who was limited to six minutes at Florida due to a tight hamstring, contributed 4 rebounds and 2 points in 12 minutes on Saturday.
Senior forward Dustin Thomas did not play Saturday, and Coach Mike Anderson said it was a coach's decision and Thomas was not suspended.
Later, when discussing the team's big contributions off the bench, Anderson said, "Those add up when you put all of those guys together, then you're playing without a guy like Dustin Thomas tonight, so I was really proud of our bench."
• Arkansas' three SEC home victories have come by a combined eight points over Tennessee, Missouri and Ole Miss.
• The Rebels led for a total of 21 seconds in the game, at 13-11 on a Terence Davis' three-pointer, before Darious Hall hit a three-pointer for the Razorbacks at the 14:19 mark of the first half.
• Ole Miss forward Bruce Stevens had his streak of 20-point games snapped at two as he managed 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting before fouling out with 2:05 to play.
Sports on 01/21/2018
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