Former Kansas star and NBA player Danny Manning – the first pick in the 1988 NBA draft – did not mince words when he came to the podium after Arkansas hammered his previously unbeaten Wake Forest team 83-53 Wednesday night before 9,107 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
“Arkansas came out tonight and delivered the first blow and we didn't handle it well and we didm't recover,” noted Manning, who is in his first year as the Demon Deacons head coach. “They came out and played their style of play and created turnovers and scored off turnovers and we didn't do a good enough job of taking care of the basketball.
“This was a beat down – there is no other way to look at it,” Manning added.
Rashad Madden had 11 points and five other players – Bobby Portis, Moses Kingsley, Alandise Harris, Jacorey Williams and Anton Beard – all chipped in 10 apiece as the Razorbacks used 15 unanswered points inside a 20-2 run early to go up 30-12 and never led by less than 14 the rest of the way.
"Our guys were just relentless," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "Just relentless. Wake Forest is a much better basketball team than they showed tonight. They didn't shoot the ball well and we shot it well and our defense was good so we were able to win in a big way."
The lead crested at 35 when Harris' bucket capped a 13-0 second half run and made it 77-42 with 6:15 left on the second half.
That was part of an onslaught in the second half where Arkansas made 14 of its first 18 field goal attempts and 16 for 26 overall (61.5 percent) after intermission and shot 52.5 percent overall on the night while also knocking down 7-of-15 3-pointers.
Arkansas' bench outscored the visitors 45-21.
“I recruit these guys and I like instinctive guys and I like for them to showcase their God-given abilities that God has gifted them with,” Anderson said. “If they can employ it into what we are doing – and I think that is what they are doing – it's just having fun.
“One of the keys to the game that I always put on the board is to 'go out and have fun,'” Anderson added. “...They were just having fun.”
Arkansas forced Wake Forest (2-1) into 20 turnovers – which the Razorbacks turned into 33 points and forcing the Demon Deacons to shoot just 32.2 percent from the field and a frigid 1-of-18 from 3-point range.
“I think the most significant thing that took place was our defense,” Anderson said. “I thought our defense was locked in from start to finish. Our bench continues to get better. I thought if there was a game ball we gave out, you give it to the bench.
“There is a lot of balance on this basketball team and I thought it was on display tonight,” Anderson said.
Madden, who dubbed Arkansas' attack Dunkville, talked about how his team enjoyed taking it to the opponent in a game where the Razorbacks had four alley-oop dunks off turnovers.
"It was real fun to just get out there and play with freedom and just leave it all out there on the floor," Madden said.
Manning talked about how his team's three-point shooting could be chalked up to a variety of factors, but the bottom line is that it just wasn't any good.
“You can chalk it up to whatever, but the results are 1 of 18,” Manning said. “And this is a results business. We didn't get it done tonight.”
Sophomore walk on Manuale Watkins had only two free throws, but five of Arkansas' 13 steals in the game and played 19 minutes while Jabril Durham had six points and a team-high six assists for the second straight game.
"Manuale Watkins is a guy that didn't take a shot, but made a big difference in this game," Anderson said. "His presence was all over - defensively, tenacity, moving the ball - and Jabril Durham was scoring, assisting and rebounding the basketball."
Wake Forest had out-rebound North Carolina-Asheville and Tulane by a combined 50 rebounds, but Arkansas matched them on the boards 36-36.
"You saw a group that was rebounding the ball by committee because that's what they do - Wake Forest shoots it and then goes and gets it," Anderson said. "But we did a good job of staying in the ballpark and staying even on the boards for the game."
Arkansas will return to action Friday night when it hosts Delaware State ahead of a game next Tuesday at Top 25 opponent SMU.
Razorback newcomers Jabril Durham and Anton Beard celebrate in front of Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning after teaming together to cause one of the Demon Deacons' 20 turnovers.
Arkansas 83, Wake Forest 53
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