Sophomore guard B.J. Young had 17 points and freshman Anthlon Bell 12 as the Razorbacks finished their non-conference slate by thrashing Delaware State 86-51 before 9,183 at Bud Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks (9-4), winners of five straight headed into their SEC opener at Texas A&M on Wednesday, shot a blistering and season-high 58.2 percent from the field.
"I thought it was a good way for our guys to end the non-conference schedule," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought defensively we took Delaware State out of some things that they are accustomed to doing and sped the game up…It was a game where I thought we attacked them defensively and attacked them offensively as well. We made shots and that makes a big difference."
Arkansas held Delaware State to 1 points – its second straight foe held to that few points.
"Our defense created some easy opportunities for us and I thought we were in attack mode," Anderson said. "We did a good job against their zone…and sometimes they were in a man-to-man. But I thought our guys did a good job of making the extra pass. We took good shots and we made good shots."
The Razorbacks trailed 8-4 before hitting 12 of their next 16 shots to blitz the Hornets with its 34-4 spree.
That culminated with consecutive 3-pointers by Bell to make it 38-12 with 3:10 left in the first half.
"They went up 8-4 and I thought the game was at their pace," Anderson said. "They spread the floor and did a good job of attacking us.
"But I thought as we went to our bench, we started getting more energy guys, guys coming out there defensively, harassing and deflecting passes, rebounding the ball," Anderson added.
Freshman Jacorey Williams (four points, two rebounds, one assists) was one of those that bounced off the bench with energy and defensive tenacity.
"I feel like the bench came in with a lot of energy," Williams said. "I feel like we trapped more balls and got into guys a little bit. So it was hard for them to run their offense. We kind of messed up everything for them on the offensive end."
Marshawn Powell added eight points, Michael Qualls seven and Hunter Mickelson six points and a team-high eight boards for Arkansas.
Starting guards Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott both added six points as well.
One of Arkansas' big focuses was to foul less in this game after giving up 42 charity tosses to Northwestern (LA) State.
The Razorbacks – despite playing tenacious defense – had just 15 fouls and allow the visitors to go to the line just 18 times.
"I thought we cleaned that up a little bit," Anderson said. "We went to the line (19) as many times as they did. I think we have learned some things about ourselves."
Arkansas played without junior forward Coty Clarke, who was home to tend to a family emergency, but will be back for the conference opener according to Anderson.
"He had a family emergency, but he will be back in before the conference opener," Anderson said.
Young – who missed only one of his nine field goal attempts – had 10 points and Bell nine of his as Arkansas took a 43-18 lead into intermission.
"I thought he was really focused," Anderson said of Young. "He made some tremendous passes. You talk about a guy who was zoned in. He was zoned in tonight."
It didn't get any better for the visitors in the second half as Bell's fourth 3-pointer of the game surged Arkansas ahead 72-37 with just over five minutes left.
"It felt good," Bell said. "I just had to get my confidence up, staying in the gym. So this is a big confidence boost for me. I just go out there and take what the defensive gives me. If they back off, I'll let it go."
It was a blessing for Anderson to see Bell knock down those 3-pointers after he had made just two in the last five games and was 9-of-37 for the season going into the contest.
"I think it is critical for us to have a guy that can come off the bench and knock shots down," Anderson said. "He is a guy – that as I have said – I saw do it in high school and AAU ball. Now he has got to transfer that to doing it at this level here.
"Tonight he was in rhythm and our guys did a good job of getting the ball to him," Anderson added. "He also played a significant amount of minutes (14) and that makes a difference as well. Our guys had confidence in him. That is going to be needed, especially as we go throughout this season.
"People are going to target in on BJ, they are going to target in on Marshawn Powell as well as Mardracus so we have got to have somebody that can really extend the defense," Anderson continued.
Every Razorback player that got into the game scored except for Davion Spivey and the hosts biggest lead of the night was 41 at 81-40.
Casey Walker had 13 points to lead Delaware State (6-9) while leading scorer Tajh Tate had 10 – six below his average.
Arkansas will now turn its attention to Texas A&M (9-3), who the Razorbacks visit before hosting Vanderbilt next Saturday at 5 p.m.
We are getting to that conference where everybody is familiar with one another and there is that championship at the end," Anderson said. "We are in a race and unlike past years of 16 games it's 18 games. We start off on the road and it's a big ballgame for us."