No. 16 Arkansas will look to correct some of its deficiencies against Gardner-Webb on Saturday at Fayetteville, Ark., following the Razorbacks’ struggles Tuesday in a season-opening win over Mercer.
Eric Musselman’s team defeated Mercer 74-61 at Fayetteville but trailed by eight points at halftime and was behind 54-53 with 9:41 remaining before going on an 18-3 run.
Mercer made 13 shots from 3-point range and the Razorbacks had only 13 assists compared to 15 turnovers.
“We have got to have a better assist-to-turnover ratio,” Musselman said. “We now have a body of work of three games (including two exhibitions) of this, so that has to get better.”
In a 77-74 win over East Central, the Razorbacks had 10 turnovers and nine assists, and in a 68-60 win over North Texas, they had 14 turnovers and 10 assists.
Gardner-Webb comes to Arkansas off a near-upset at UNLV, losing 64-58 in its opener on Wednesday night.
D’Maurian Williams tied a career high with 21 points and helped Gardner-Webb charge back from a nine-point second-half deficit to nearly pull off the win. The Bulldogs trailed 60-58 with 48 seconds left.
“I think overall, we didn’t play particularly well, but I thought the good thing was that we stayed together on the road,” Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft said. “We continued to battle and fight in the second half when we were down eight, down six, down seven, and then ultimately gave ourselves a chance to take the lead with roughly 50 seconds to play, so those things are great.”
In Arkansas’ comeback win over Mercer, the Razorbacks forced eight turnovers during their pivotal 18-3 run in the second half. They held Mercer to 1-of-9 shooting in the process.
Arkansas scored the first eight points of the second half to start the momentum and Arkansas outscored the Bears 46-25 after halftime to secure the win.
JD Notae led the Razorbacks with 30 points, 15 of which came from 3-point range. He made five of Arkansas’ six shots from beyond the arc going 5 of 14. Arkansas made 6 of 21 as a team.
“When I was coming up in high school, I would go to Mercer’s camp every year,” said Notae, who is from Covington, Ga., which is about 60 miles from where Mercer is located in Macon, Ga. “They didn’t offer me coming out of high school, so this game was personal for me.”
Au’Diese Toney, a transfer from Pittsburgh, finished with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and had 11 rebounds for the Razorbacks.
Lance Terry finished with 13 points and two steals in Gardner-Webb’s loss to UNLV and graduate transfer Zion Williams, from Missouri-Kansas City, had eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs limited UNLV to 30.3 percent shooting from the floor. The Runnin’ Rebels made just 2 of 25 from 3-point range.
“We certainly did a good job of making it tough on them and forcing them into some tough shots,” Craft said.
–Field Level Media