FAYETTEVILLE - Apparently for Arkansas to win a SEC game Joseph Pinion must score 13 points off the bench.
A 4-star from Morrilton yet among the lesser heralded of Coach Eric Musselman's fabulous freshman class headlined by McDonald's High School All-Americans Nick Smith, Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh, Pinion played just two inconsequential minutes during the Dec. 28 60-57 SEC opening loss at LSU.
LSU (12-7 overall, 1-6 in the SEC) and Arkansas (13-6, 2-5) rematch at 6 tonight on ESPN2 at Walton Arena.
Pinion cast scant effect on Arkansas' 11-1 nonconference start, but SEC Game 2 Musselman summoned the 6-5 3-point shooting guard when the Razorbacks trailed Missouri, 25-8 at Walton.
In 27 minutes Pinion rallied the Razorbacks to a 72-68 victory with his 13 points including 3 of 7 treys.
The next four, all SEC losses, Pinion first was stifled 14 minutes at Auburn. His playing time then decreased.
Suddenly Saturday Walton Arena became Pinion Place. For Arkansas' 69-57 victory over Ole Miss, Pinion rallied the Razorbacks. In 21 minutes Pinion parlayed 13 points, five rebounds, a blocked shot and one of Arkansas' 12 steals.
Musselman mused employing Pinion is all about matchups.
"We felt there were good matchups for him defensively," Musselman said. "Defensively he played well. He had four defensive rebounds. Defensive rebounding was a high, high priority. There's no doubt his 3-for-6 from the (3-point) field was extremely important to us."
No SEC coincidence, Walsh said, of Pinion's production
"I feel like now we're seeing a pattern here," Walsh said. "Joseph, whenever he's having a big game, the team's better. The morale's up and we're winning."
Pinion wasn't big-game alone Saturday.
Walsh, Black and junior guard Devo Davis all starred.
Point guard Black played perhaps best of all, 17 points, five steals and eight assists vs. two turnovers.
"Anthony Black controlled the game when he needed to," Davis told postgame radio.
BIG MEET WEEKEND
Coach Chris Bucknam's Razorbacks men and Coach Lance Harter's Razorbacks women host the best track meet in Friday and Saturday's Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track this side of defending their conference crowns hosting the Feb. 24-25 SEC Indoor Championships.
"Every event is loaded," say both Harter and men's field events coach Travis Geopfert.
Baylor, Brigham Young, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Stanford, Texas A&M and Southern California compete against Arkansas teams opening spectacularly two weeks ago
"It's like who's who in men's and women's track," Harter said.
Debuting setting the women's collegiate record (1:25.16) running just for strength work in the non-SEC/NCAA meet 600-meters, Britton Wilson likely runs her indoor 400-meter specialty Saturday.
Both cracking all-time Top 10, Razorbacks men Chris Bailey, 1:15.18 for the 600, and James Benson, 32.4 for the (non-SEC/NCAA) 300, likely will respectively run the 400 and 200 aiming for NCAA meet qualifiers Saturday.