Arkansas’ basketball program opened its home season with a victory for the 42nd straight time and did it with a guy donning a Razorback jersey for the first time and another who has totally transformed himself leading the way.
Moses Kingsley had a career-high 22 points, a career-best 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 steals while Texas Tech transfer and former Pulaski Academy star Dusty Hannahs added 21 points as the Razorbacks whipped Southern 86-68 Friday night before 6,063 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
Anthlon Bell came off the bench for 14 points and freshman Jimmy Whitt added 12 while senior Jabril Durham a career-high 10 assists for Arkansas, who remained perfect at 23-0 in home openers at Bud Walton Arena.
"Good team win," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "You never know how a team is going to come out, but we found a way to finish the game off and hopefully we can clean up some areas that we have got to clean up."
The Razorbacks watched a 53-33 lead whittled down to 62-56 before Kingsley scored six straight points - one bucket on a steal and a dunk - and Hannahs bombed home a 3-pointer.
"We are happy for the win and we played against a Southern team, kudos to Coach (Roman) Banks team, they weren't going to go away," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "We had a couple of opprtunities to really put them away, but with their experience...they didn't panic and just kind of hung around and hung around."
Kingsley had one double-double in his career, but had mostly backed up former Razorback and current NBA player Bobby Portis the last two seasons.
The junior center was 8-of-8 from the field on the night and 6-of-11 from the free throw line.
"What a performance by Moses Kingsley," Anderson said. "It was probably the most productive 24 minutes he has probably played. He just had a big, big-time prescene and impact on this particular game."
Kingsley admits he played even better than he had hoped."
"I won't lie, it was a little bit of a surprise," Kingsley said. "...It gives the whole team confidence."
He gave credit to Portis for his improvement.
"I feel a lot more comfortable than I did a couple of years ago," Kingsley said. "It was like a privllege playing behind Bobby...I have been with him for like four or five years now. It was a privilege of watching him work hard every day and I tried to work as hard as Bobby did, which I have never seen anybody work that hard.
"I just tried to keep up with him. All that stuff has helped me today and is going to continue to help me the rest of my basketball career."
Hannahs was not surpised by the effort from Kingsley, his former Arkansas Wings AAU teammate.
"He was super active and we see it in practice every day," Hannahs said. "I have played (AAU basketball) with him since I was a junior in high school or a sophomore and I know Moses can do when he bases his game off of energy. It is fun to watch and he is everywhere."
Hannahs was 6-of-11 from the field, 5-of-7 from 3-point range on a night when Arkansas shot 48.5 percent from the field and 14-of-26 from he free throw line.
"It just felt good making shots as a Razorback," Hannahs said. "I dreamed of playing here growing up and being able to do that is awesome in front of my friends and family."
Durham had 7 of his 10 assists in the first alone as the Razorbacks jumped out to a 40-25 lead at intermission.
He has 26 assists and 9 turnovers combined in the two exhibition games and the regular season opener.
"It is very fun playing with Moses and Dusty and Ant and really just the whole team," Durham said. "This is nothing new. They know I am going to get them the ball. We do it every day in practice. Making all of us happy is like the main goal.
"...I did have six turnovers and that was pretyy sloppy for a senior point guard, but I will get better at that for sure."
Kingsley was a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor while Hannahs was 6-of-13 from the field, 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line.
Banks was impressed with what he saw out of Kingsley and Arkansas.
"He was overshadowed by a couple of pros last year, but you can see that he has a lot of ability now that he is the man," Banks said. "I think he certainly stepped up to the task tonight and did a very good job. I am not surprised by how aggressive he was, but I do give him credit for being a little bit better than we anticipated tonight.
"I thought he really established himself as a primary scorer. I thought he was able to effect the game on the offensive and defensive end.
Chirstoper Hyder had 22 points to lead Southern while Chris Thomas added 11 and Trulan Banks - the coach's son - was held to 8 points on 1-of-10 shooting on a night when Arkansas' defense held the Jaguars to 41.5 percent shooting from the field.
"Evidently this ball club, the Razorbacks, lost a lot of guys, but traditionally their style of play is still pretty tough to play against," Banks said. "They did a good job of establishing themselves defensively against us and made us kind of timid.
"Also they were really taking away my offensive players that we really depend on making baskets for us. Some went in and some out, but I always say that the defense has something to do with that."
Southern had 17 turnovers against a Razorback that used some pressure defense on the night.
"I don't think we have a team that plays the style that Arkansas plays," Banks said. "I think we have a very good Texas Southern team coached by Mike Davis that has been doing very good job in our league.
"They play pressure defense, but not to this point. We have a couple of teams who emulate that style, but not the animals to play that way."
Arkansas has two home games the second week of the season as it hosts Akron on Wednesday and Charleston Southern on Friday.
The Razorbacks will then head to Brooklyn, N.Y., to face Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving Day in the NIT Preseason Tournament.
Arkansas will then face either Stanford or Villanova the following day.
Dusty Hannahs defends Southern's Christopher Hyder