High-scoring Abilene Christian a tough test for Arkansas

·2 min read

Abilene Christian is off to a productive start with its record and scoring margin heading into its nonconference game Tuesday against host Arkansas in Fayetteville.

The Wildcats (7-1) are averaging 74 points per game and outscoring opponents by an average margin of 18.2 points following a 95-73 win over visiting Hardin-Simmons last week.

One game of note on Abilene Christian's schedule was a 51-44 loss at nationally-ranked Texas Tech on Dec. 9. The game was close to the end with the Red Raiders leading by only three points with less than two minutes remaining.

In the win over Hardin-Simmons, Joe Pleasant tied a career-high with 20 points and propelled the Wildcats to their highest scoring total of the season. They also struggled defensively, allowing a season-high 73 points.

"We were not as sharp defensively, but we were pretty good offensively," Abilene Christian coach Joe Golding said. "We're working our guys really hard on the practice floor. We're trying to get our team ready for January. We know what's in front of us with (Southland) conference teams."

Arkansas (7-0) enters the game rallying from a 10-point halftime deficit Sunday against visiting Oral Roberts to win 87-76.

Justin Smith (22 points and 17 rebounds) and Desi Sills (16 points and 10 rebounds) each posted double-doubles with career highs in rebounds.

The Razorbacks had 24 offensive boards and out-rebounded the Golden Eagles, 58-32.

They overcame their largest deficit of the season, 42-30, after Oral Roberts scored the first basket of the second half.

"Too many quick shots," Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. "Taking a decent shot instead of a good shot or a great shot.

"I thought guys came into the game tonight thinking 'score' instead of thinking 'Arkansas.' First time it's happened this year. Hopefully it does not happen again."

JD Notae had all 15 of his points in the second half for the Razorbacks.

"Sometimes it's hard to grab your team's attention when you win so many games in a row," Musselman said. "I thought we played really, really good in the second half, and I thought we played really, really poor in the first half."

Abilene Christian will be a good test for Arkansas defensively. The Wildcats have forced at least 20 turnovers in seven games, including 26 against Hardin-Simmons.

--Field Level Media