Arkansas freshman basketball star Bobby Portis and Razorback junior Alandise Harris are really looking forward to going home this weekend and making an apperance at North Little Rock's Verizon Arena.
That's where Arkansas (8-2) will host South Alabama (6-5) Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the team's only Central Arkansas apperance of the season.
"It'll be cool, because you know both of us are from Little Rock, so it's like our whole town will come out and support us," Portis said. "...The crowd in Little Rock is crazy because you know like we have a game in Little Rock once a year, so they're hyped for that game every year."
Portis, the 6-10, 242-pound former Little Rock Hall star, has not made a trip home since fall classes started.
"I'm very excited to go back home," Portis said. "Because I haven't been home since August, so like my mom's going to be at the game and everything, so it should be a good show."
Harris, a former Little Rock Central star, actually played for Houston two years ago and had 18 points as the Cougars' downed the Razorbacks 87-78 at the same arena.
He had a putback dunk that was on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 plays that night.
"All year, this is all he's been talking about is the (North) Little Rock game," Portis said. "So, I think Saturday he'll be action packed down there."
Arkansas will be looking for its fifth straight win since returning for the Maui Invitational and head coach Mike Anderson expects a big crowd to welcome in the Razorbacks.
"There is a a great excitmement down there," Anderson said. "We are looking forward to it. Our guys are looking forward to it. I think hopefully we are taking the show to Central Arkansas. You got some fans that don't get a chance to watch us play in person.
"I am sure there will be a lot of enthsiasm," Anderson added. "When we go down there, the people in Central Arkansas are great – tremendous and loyal Razorback fans and they are excited for us coming down."
Arkansas is coming off a 102-56 bashing of Tennessee-Martin and should find a more formidable opponent in South Alabama, who lost just 68-59 at Gonzaga recently despite falling down 22-3 to start the game.
Senior forward Augustine Rubit (6-7, 220) had a career-high 35 points – including 23 in the second half - against a Zags' team that downed the Razorbacks 91-81 in Maui.
"They are a very good basketball team," Anderson said. "They played Gonzaga on the road and outscored them in the second half by maybe 10 points. They have a young man that is not only one of the better players in the Sunbelt League, but in the country. He got 35 up there. He is leading that league in scoring and rebounding. They have some other athletic players on their team. I am sure this is one of those games that they have circled to play."
South Alabama, coming off a 82-73 win over Dillard, also played tough at Texas before losing 84-77 after leading the Longhorns 72-64 with just over seven minutes left.
Rubit leads the way while averaging 18.7 points and 9.8 rebounds while the other four starters all average between 8.0 and 9.8 points per game and the same starting five has started all 11 games.
"It is going to be a team and one of those games where we are really going to have to play well," Anderson added. "We are really going to have to play well."
The Razorbacks had five players in double figures on Thursday, including freshman center Moses Kingsley's first double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
Regarded as the best high school shot blocker in the country last season, Kingsley was clearly thinking about adding another double stat – blocked shots – to his resume in the future.
"It's a very good night to do it," Kingsley said. " It's Christmas season. I'm very happy to get my triple-double today -- oh, my double-double today. Yeah, I hope I can get triple-double one day, so that's why I say triple-double."
Portis and Kingsley (6-10, 230) played AAU basketball together with the Arkansas Wings and Portis likes what he is seeing in the development of his fellow big man's game.
"Moses, like, since AAU, he's progressed a lot because in AAU, Moses didn't really want to shoot the ball," Portis said. "But now he's, it's like now Moses' confidence is just high right now. So, like the skies the limit for him."
Freshman Moses Kingsley battles for a loose ball in Thursday's win over Tennessee-Martin.
Bobby Portis looks to make a move in last Saturday's victory over Clemson.
Razorbacks Invade North Little Rock
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