Arkansas coach Mike Anderson asked for 40 minutes of pressure after a lackluster first half against Savannah State last week. Tennessee-Martin coach Jason James attests that the Razorbacks listened to their coach after a 102-56 loss Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena.
The inside trio of Coty Clarke (15 ponts, 9 rebounds), Bobby Portis (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Moses Kingsley (12 points, 12 rebounds) worked over the smaller Skyhawks as the Hogs limited the visitors to 27.5 percent shooting.
The Hogs exploded with a 20-8 run over the final 7:51 of the first half to lead 49-25 at intermission, then expanded that to 82-42 at the 9:20 mark. They hit the century mark at the 2:27 mark on a Portis layup when most of the home crowd of 6,315 began to depart.
"I thought (Arkansas) played with a sense of urgency," James said. "It was like the house was on fire and they were trying to get everything out of the house. Tonight, they got everything out of the house."
Anderson could appreciate those thoughts. He said it was a case of putting it all together, including terrific rebounding.
"We played a good ball game tonight, with great intensity,"Anderson said. "We talked about doing it for 40 minutes, not just 20 like Savannah State. We did more things, like protect the rim. We want to do more than just play like the house is on fire. We want to play like a dog with rabies.
"We want to continue to do that. We want to cause havoc with our defense. We have to defend, but we also have to rebound the basketball and limit the possessions."
Arkansas shot 60.9 percent, won the rebounding, 49-31. The Hogs shot 61.8 percent from the field in the second half, including 6 of 9 on threes for 66.7 percent.
It was the first double-double for the 6-10 Kingsley, the long freshman with soft hands. He collected 10 defensive rebounds and blocked three shots. He canned 5 of 6 from the field, 2 of 3 from the foul line.
"Coach has been saying I wasn't letting the game come to me," Kingsley said. "The last two weeks I've tried to let it come to me. I'm very happy with a triple double -- I mean a double double. I hope to have a triple double at some point."
Anderson liked the way Portis and Kingsley worked together on the court.
"You saw the two big freshmen out there, a pretty good stretch," Anderson said. "Moses had the double double and Bobby had a big-time impact on the game. He was scoring, blocking and rebounding. Those two out there together didn't look too bad.
"Moses, you see the way he is rebounding the basket now. It's at a high point. He has lengthened out. He's got a big body and a great pair of hands. He played 20 minutes tonight with no turnovers. He continues to come on. He's worked hard and done some things with the medicine ball to increase his stamina."
Clarke was a force, too. He canned 7 of 9 from the field, added two blocks and three steals.
"Coty was the top rebounder in junior college, but he had been playing small, not athletic," Anderson said. "The last few games, he's changed that. We showed him tape. He's spent a lot of time with his shot. And he's letting the game come to him. He's a tough matchup, kinda like a forward we had, Dwight Stewart. You take away his shot, he can go to the basket."
The Hogs had five in double figures with Ky Madden and Michael Qualls each adding 11 points.
"They have a lot of guys who are hard to guard, tough matchups," James said. "That's especially on the blocks. What makes them tough, they are versatile. And, anytime you have balance, that's the hardest thing to guard.
"They seemed more hungry. You could tell they wanted to play. They were ready from the jump."
James was asked how the Hogs compare to Florida State, Colorado and UNLV. The Skyhawks (5-9) have lost on the road to all of those high RPI teams.
"Florida State and Colorado, they are bigger," James said. "UNLV is the most talented. But from a defensive standpoint, we hadn't played anyone better.
"The way they play, with the number of guys they play and the bounce they have, it makes them tough."
The Hogs (8-2) have a quick turnaround to their next game, South Alabama at 7 p.m. Saturday in Little Rock. Anderson said they are in a good mindset.
"The guys are listening," he said. "They hear what I'm saying. I wanted 40 minutes. Our rebounding has improved.
"Coty looks like a different player. Our guys lean on him. He was doing everything out there tonight, very active."
Clarke joked that he would have had a double double except for a rebound he lost to Portis. He was proud of the defensive effort from his teammates.
"That's what I do," Clarke said of his work on the boards. "That's what I was brought here to do.
"And they were brought here to help get on the boards, so when you see us fighting like that, it's nothing but what we want and what coach wants. As long as it's just us two and not the other team, I'll take that any day."
Arkansas 102, UT-Martin 56
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