FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Fresh off an 80-point victory to start the season, Arkansas played host to North Texas on Saturday. Not quite the fireworks display we saw on Wednesday, though that's to be expected, the Mean Green present different kind of challenge. Arkansas led by 11 at halftime despite shooting just 3-13 from three, a far cry for the barrage from deep we saw in the opener. Transfer JD Notae led the squad at the break with 11 points, and Justin Smith and the freshmen, Moses Moody, each had 8. Everyone’s favorite big man, Connor Vanover, shot just once in the first half, scoring two points, but pulled down 7 boards. He also managed three blocks, part of a stellar defensive effort from the Hogs that featured 7 steals and five blocks as a team.
That strong defensive showing held strong in the second half, including a shutdown start to the second from. Arkansas held North Texas scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the second, building a 20-point lead before the Mean Green managed a layup with 14:05 left to play. From there, it was a grind it out, physical win, as Arkansas struggled to hit shots consistently. Despite finishing with just 6 points, Vanover controlled much of the game, racking up 16 rebounds and 6 blocks. After the game, head coach Eric Musselman called Vanover “dominant,” pointing out how much he was able to contribute without scoring. When the clock hit zero, Arkansas came away with a 69-54 win, moving to 2-0 on the season.
Justin Smith led the team with 18 points, chipping in six rebounds and three steals as well. Unlike the opener, just eight Hogs saw playing time, with the starting five plus Notae the only players seeing significant time. Up next, Arkansas hosts UT-Arlington, that game goes down at 8PM at Bud Walton Arena.