Rickey Scott had a career-high 18 points and B.J. Young 16 as the Razorbacks rallied from an early 11-point deficit to down Louisiana Tech 77-63 before 8,000 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
"I was really proud of our guys tonight," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought the first half we really got after it. I thought you saw some Hawg Ball. I thought you saw some guys really engage.
"We got off to a slow start, but you have to give some credit to Louisiana Tech,' Anderson said. "They came out and made some shots early on."
DeVonta Abron added 10 points, Rashad Madden 9 and Mardracus Wade 8 for Arkansas (8-3), who won its third game in a row and will now get the same amount of days off for Christmas.
Julysess Nobles and Marvell Waithe both added 7 points each while Madden had 7 rebounds and Hunter Mickelson 5 boards.
Scott's 18 points was six more than his career high and came after a chat with his uncle.
"He said, ‘Look at your YouTube (highlights) and what you were doing in high school,'" Scott said. "I was playing with a way different tone. I was tense earlier this year. So he said, ‘Look back. "That's what I did. He just challenged me."
Arkansas fell behind 17-6 early in the game, but reeled off 10 straight points en route to opening up a 38-33 lead by halftime.
"We had a nice run there at the end of the first half and then I thought my team kind of went home for Christmas at halftime, because it seemed like we just came out totally flat," Anderson said.
The Razorbacks did allow the visiting Bulldogs (7-6) to get back within 56-55 midway through the second half.
But Madden had five quick points in a stretch in which Arkansas regained control of the game.
"Thank goodness for our bench," Anderson said. "Our bench came in and gave us a big lift. Ky Madden - I thought that was one of his most aggressive, assertive games, making big plays going for us down the stretch."
Scott's bucket capped a 16-5 spree and gave the Razorbacks a 72-61 cushion with just under three minutes left.
"With Rickey, you saw what I saw - a highlight waiting to happen," Anderson said. "I liked his demeanor and mindset. It was a team win."
"Madden was very good tonight," White said. "He has a great in-between game and he hit some hard runners and floaters that were contested from 10-15 feet, which is kind of a lost art. He has kind of got a throw back game and he made us pay."
"Young is cat-cat quick," White said. "I can't imagine there is a quicker faster guy in the country. His first step is unbelievable. We had our best athlete on him and he flew by him a couple of times like he was standing still.
"...They have two guys that really are a blur in him and Rickey Scott and then you have great ball quickness with Julysess Nobles and Ky Madden is quick and fast himself and another talented playmaker on the wing. They are very talented."
Former Jacksonville standout Raheem Appleby had a game-high 23 points to lead Louisiana Tech in the freshman's return to his home state.
"LIke always when you get a young man from a state or from that particular place, he comes out and has the game of his life," Anderson said.
A lightly-recruited prospect who was once committed to UALR, Appleby got off to a slow start this season but has now put together games of 26, 22 and 24 points in a row.
"He is a kid with an unbelievable motor," White said. "Anytime he is in between the lines - whether it is a drill, pick-up, practice or a game - he plays that hard. He is a very good offensive player who happened to get a few good looks tonight and he took advantage of those looks. He also hit two or three hard ones like Arkansas' guards did."
Asked if he had been acquainted with Appleby before his scoring outburst, Anderson drew laughs with his response.
"I am now," Anderson said.
Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White, the former Ole Miss player and assistant coach, was asked to assess the Razorbacks.
"I think Arkansas, especially at home, will win a couple they are not suppose to," White said. "I think on the road a lot of it will depend on how quickly these young guards can mature and whether or not they make shots in stressful environments and make the right decisions.
"A lot of it has to do with their young backcourt, but they are very talented and they played as hard as any team that we have played," White added. "There is no doubt in my that Coach Anderson and his staff will have this thing going in due time."
One of those players will not be Memphis prep standout Jarnell Stokes (6-8, 245), whose chose Tennessee over Arkansas, Memphis, Florida, Kentucky and UConn on Thursday night.
He will enroll in January and begin playing for the Vols once he starts classes.
Arkansas will return to action next Wednesday when it hosts Charlotte in the fourth game of a current seven-game home stand.
All Photos by Marc F. Henning
Rickey Scott takes off for the rim for two of his career-high 18 points.
BJ Young had 16 points on Thursday night and is all smiles after a big Arkansas run in the first half.
Marvell Waithe slams one home off a look from Young.
Julysess Nobles puts up a jumper as Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson looks on.
Anderson expresses his displeasure with something on the court.
Hunter Mickelson goes up for a shot.