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Arkansas steamrolls their way to 98-74 win over CSU in Moby

December 6, 2018

You always have hope when a visitor of the quality of Arkansas comes into your building. Sure the opponents are a Top 5 program coming off an NCAA Tournament experience. Sure the visitor’s were 6-1 with an OT loss to Texas as their only blemish. Sure they were big, strong, and fast. And sure they are led by Mike Anderson, whose mentor was legendary coach Nolan Richardson, the man responsible for developing a style known as 40 minutes of Hell.

Your hope is based on being able to slow the other team down, Hold them to one shot attempt, and then execute an error-free offense that scores both inside and out.

Arkansas tried to dash those hopes early as they ran out to a 12-2 lead fueled entirely by hot shooting from beyond the arc. The Rams responded with a pair of JD Paige three balls and it was game on.

The visitor’s count Reed with an extended 20-7 run over the next seven minutes, scoring quickly in transition with accurate perimeter shooting and inside with power at the rim. The game was on its way to a blowout but somehow the Rams clawed back, led by Anthony Masinton-Bonner from the perimeter. They cut the Arkansas lead to 8, but a final 3-ball sent the Hogs into the half with a comfortable lead.

The visitor’s came out of the locker room hot as a pistol from the perimeter and then started to use star Big Daniel Gafford who proceeded to bully his way against Nico Carvacho and any help the Rams could muster. It was to no avail and the lead grew to 65-43.

At that point, the smallest man on the floor, CSU frosh guard Kendle Moore decided he had enough of watching his fellow teammates repeatedly fail to score at the rim. Moore was determined to get there and it was his energy and polish at the rack that launched the Rams on their finest run of the year.

It began with a Moore three-ball and ended with a fearless Moore layup high off the glass and in between there was plenty of accurate shooting by Kris Martin, Masinton-Bonner, and Adam Thistlewood.

A 17-2 run over less than three minutes and the Rams were seemingly back in touch trailing 67-60 and the crowd became loud and once again hopeful.

Anderson called a timeout and designed a simple play that resulted in a Gafford dunk. The interior attacks continued and the next thing you know the Hogs had gone on a 13-0 run and pushed their lead back to 20. The onslaught continued as the visitor’s closed the game out with solid shooting and bullying defense at the rim.

A disappointing finish for the Rams but not unexpected given their shortcomings on the defensive end, especially around the rim. A big strong, athletic group came in and big-boyed their lunch money from them. The Rams were outrebounded by double digits, had 6 shots blocked and were not strong enough to finish multiple dunk attempts through contact.

The game wasn’t without positives. The Rams had handled Arkansas’ pressure D well-enough to have the best turnover percentage of any Hog opponent to date. They had aggressively attacked the paint and were more effective getting to the free throw line that any previous opponent.

Kendle Moore and JD Paige would lead the way with 16 points each. Masinton-Bonner, Carvacho, and Thistlewood would all score in double figures.

The Rams’ effort may have been inconsistent but give the opponents credit for staying true to their fast, physical, and skilled brand of basketball . A brand that killed off any hope the Rams may have had.

Don’t forget – Hope is a little town in Arkansas.

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