FAYETTEVILLE — Breezing 103-58 and 74-40 in exhibition games against Division II schools Southwestern Oklahoma State and Delta State, the Arkansas Razorbacks step up to the Division I real thing, officially opening their season tonight.
Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks at 7 p.m. at Walton Arena host the Southern University Jaguars of the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference).
“The exhibition season is over with,” Anderson said after Tuesday night’s game. “You can wipe the slate clean, and now we move on to open up on Friday.”
It’s a clean slate and a tougher slate, Anderson said.
“Southern is a team I believe is going to be predicted to be in the top two or three of their league,” Anderson said. “They return some players from last year. The coach’s son (guard Treuin Banks son of Southern coach Roman Banks) is a very good player. That’s a team that is going to come in with some quickness and some athletes. They are better than the teams we just got through playing.”
And they won’t be Arkansas awed even with the SWAC’s lowered status compared to the SEC.
“Southern (visiting Mississippi State Monday) plays teams such as Arkansas all the time. So they are going to come in I’m sure losing forward to having the opportunity to come into Bud Walton and steal a game. We have got to have a mindset that we want to protect the home court.”
Anderson said the Razorbacks struggles to shoot well early against Delta State yet eventually romping 74-40 reaffirmed his coach’s mantra to his team that defense always comes first because defense can about always keep you in the game.
“That’s a coach’s creed,” Anderson said. “There are going to be nights you ain’t going to shoot it well. But your defense is something that can be there every night. I thought tonight (Tuesday against Delta State) our defense was the difference in the game until we could start making shots.”
While touting Dusty Hannahs — 15 second-half points — Forrest City grad forward Trey Thompson and junior guard Manuale Watkins off the bench against Delta State, Anderson likely will start the same five that started against Delta State.
That five includes senior point guard Jabril Durham, senior shooter Anthlon Bell, 6-4 freshman flash Jimmy Whitt, 6-10 junior center Moses Kingsley — a game-high 16 points against Delta State — and 6-7 senior forward Keaton Miles.
Arkansas vs. Southern
F-Keaton Miles, 6-7 Sr.
C-Moses Kingsley, 6-10 Jr.
G-Jabril Durham, 6-1 Sr.
G-Anthlon Bell, 6-3 Sr.
G-Jimmy Whitt, 6-4 Fr.
F-Shawn Prudhomme, 6-4 Jr.
F-Jarred Sam, 6-9 So.
G-Christopher Hyder, 5-11 Sr.
G-Treuin Banks, 6-1 Jr.
G-Adrian Rodgers, 6-4 Sr.