Arkansas took the lead 17:03 remaining in the first half and never trailed again on their way to a 101-73 victory over a good Bucknell team on Sunday in Bud Walton Arena before 6,477 fans.
Senior guard Jaylon Barford scored 21 points in the first half as the Hogs built a 56-34 lead at intermission. He finished the game with 27 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 28 minutes. Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson was pleased with how his team responded again on Sunday following a solid showing on Friday against Samford.
"Bucknell is a very good basketball team," Anderson said. "In the first half we did a lot of things right defensively. Offensively Barford just goes off. It's a very unselfish team. The other night Daryl (Macon) went off.
"The bench guys came in and played well. Daniel Gafford, Darious Hall and Gabe (Osabuohien) continues to play well. And C.J. (Jones) of course. So that bench came in and played well."
The Hogs beat Samford 95-56 on Friday. That was a 20-win team last year that returned 12 of its 13 players. Bucknell is favored to win their league. Barford talked the start to the season.
"I feel real comfortable," Barford said. "We have just been putting in a lot of time and preparation really for the entire season so we can show everybody what we're all about."
Macon added 21 points while Gafford added 15 and Anton Beard 11. Gafford fouled out thus only getting to play 16 minutes. Trey Thompson only had two points, but led both teams with 11 rebounds and also added two assists and one blocked shot.
Bucknell Coach Nathan Davis was among those in Bud Walton Arena who left impressed with the Razorbacks.
"Coming in we thought Arkansas was a very good team," Davis said. "I think they showed they do. I thought in the first half we didn't play that poorly I just thought they made some tough shots and was able to take advantage of the few mistakes we made."
Senior forward Zach Thomas showed why he was the preseason MVP of the Patriot League. He scored 24 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. Nana Foulland added 17 points while Stephen Brown had 13 and nine assists.
Arkansas dominated the boards 41-25 with 16 of those on the offensive end. The Hogs shot 53.5 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point territory. They also hit 76 percent of their free throws.
"I thought we played well," Anderson said. "The fans that came out and the ones who got a chance to see it on the SEC Network got a chance to see what our team has been working on and the type of team it's capable of being. I love our defensive intensity and pressuring the ball. We share the basketball and end up playing for each other."
It's only two games, but what are your thoughts on how this season has started?
"I think we've got some pretty good pieces," Anderson said. "The veteran guys are the guys right now that are kinda holding it together. You look at those three guards...Anton, Daryl and Barford. It just seems like they are so different than they were last year and they are the calming force out there as well as Trey Thompson."
Arkansas will next return to the court on Friday night in Bud Walton Arena when they play host to Fresno State at 7 p.m.