Arkansas 93, Charleston Southern 75

Jabril Durham's 11 assists spark Arkansas as the Razorbacks down Charleston Southern 93-75 Friday night before 6,764 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

At one point Friday night, Arkansas senior point guard Jabril Durham was on pace for what would have been a school-record 28 assists.

Durham - who dropped seven dimes in the first 10 minutes - finished with a career-high 11 assists on the night as the Razorbacks downed Charleston Southern 93-75 before 6,764 fans at Bud Walton Arena in a game that was part of the on-campus NIT Preseason Tournament.

Dusty Hannahs netted all 5 of the 3-pointers he took and had 21  points, Moses Kingsley 15 points and 6 rebounds, freshman Jimmy Whitt and Manuale Watkins both 14 points and Anthlon Bell 12 as all benefitted from Durham's generosity and vice-versa.

It was a nice bounce back from Wednesday's 88-80 home loss to Akron that left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Razorbacks.

"It was a much better performance tonight from our team," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought we established our idenity and how we were going to play this game right off from the jump. I thought we came out and really guarded Charleston Southern. They hit their first three, but I thought we were in position to challenge most of them in the first half."

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Durham also had 7 points and 4 rebounds for Arkansas, who hit 54.2 percent (32-of-59) of its field goal attempts  on the night, 7-of-13 3-pointers and 22-of-30 free throws while limiting the visitors to 34.8 percent field goal shooting although they did knock down 12 3-pointers.

"I know that I couldn't sleep and they (the other Razorbacks) couldn't sleep as well," Durham said. "When Coach came back, he said he didn't sleep too well either. We have all just been talking about this game and we were talking about how we were going to make sure we imposed our will going into the next game."

Armel Potter had 20 points to lead Charleston Southern (1-3), who won the Big South regular season title and won at Ole Miss last season.

"Congratulations to Arkansas," Charleston Southern head coach Barclay Radebaugh said. "That is the hardest I have seen them play this year. They played really hard. You could tell in warm-ups they were very focused and Coach Anderson had them very ready to play. I thought they played with a great deal of tenacity. I thought their size was a factor, their pressure was a factor. It wore us down a little bit."

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He was especially impressed with Hannahs, the Texas Tech transfer who made 6-of-8 shots overall and is now 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) from 3-point range after his perfect performance from beyond the arc on Friday night.

"I haven't seen a better shooter in college basketball, I just haven't seen a better shooter in a long time," Radebaugh said. "I told him (Hannahs) after the game and I really meant this sincerely, that 'I am really proud of you because you earned that.' A lot of guys are playing at this level because they are 6-9, 250 pounds. They were blessed to have that size.

"He earned his way into high major basketball. That shot is hours and hours and hours and hours of work, of relentless work. He has earned that right to be that kind of a shooter.

"When he lets it go, I don't think there is anybody in the arena that didn't think it was going in. He is very difficult to guard because of his release, he is very difficult to guard because he can shot fake, move right and left and regain his balance and shoot it fluidly and off ball screens and down screens and he is impossible to guard because of his quick release.

"I love seeing guys like that because they have earned their way into greatness and he is a great shooter."

Hannahs was obviously flattered by the opposing coach's comments.

"That's cool and I appreciate that compliment," Hannah said. "He said that is from working and I appreciate that. I guess he was probably a shooter in his day, too, for him to say something like that and it is gratifying to hear that your work means something to someone."

The Buccaneers had previously lost at No. 9 Wichita State (88-63) and at Stanford (93-59) before routing Johnson and Wales (97-65) at home.

"Our goal was to come in here and improve," Radebaugh said. "We have been on a really difficult road trip We have been in to three time zones, 8,000 miles and I thought the best that we played was our last 20 minutes on this trip...I thought we improved against a really good team."

Both teams are missing the vast majority of their points and rebounds from last season's sucessful seasons.

"Coach (Anderson) is starting over also with some new guys," Radebaugh said. "He had them very ready to play and they played really, really hard...They shot the ball great and that means a team was really locked in. They were focused. They were very ready to play. I am sure that losing to Akron was not what they expected and I know they wanted to come out and give a great performance tonight."

With Arkansas leading 19-11 at the 12:30 mark, Durham had assists on five straight possessions.

He fed Trey Thompson for a dunk, Bell for a 3-pointer and then Hannahs for three straight treys as the Razorbacks jumped out to to a 32-16 edge.

Arkansas’ 49-32 halftime lead would get to as big as 29 when Willy Kouassi hit a free throw to make it 70-41 with 11:12 left in the game.

The Razorbacks will now head to Brooklyn where they will face Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving Day at 2 p.m. CST inside the Barclays Center.

Arkansas will face with Stanford or Villanova the following day also at the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

Mike Anderson looks on as Arkansas hits one of its 7 3-pointers in the game.


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