Nate Allen Sports
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas achieved a far more difficult than the 79-67 final score indicted victory over the underdog University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners Saturday night at Verizon Arena.
The Razorbacks, now 7-2 and upset 78-77 in Fayetteville the previous Saturday Western Kentucky of Conference USA trailed UTSA of Conference USA 60-57 with 5:26 left and only led, 64-62 with 2:26 before prevailing in a foul-plagued ending including three flagrant fouls, one on Arkansas and two on UTSA.
Jalen Harris hitting 3 of 4 free throws in the from 1:57 to 1:41 and feeding Mason Jones for a breakaway 69-62 lead at 1:00 put Arkansas irrevocably ahead before the game became close to out of hand during the contested finish.
Arkansas freshman guard Isaiah Joe of Fort Smith Northside, hit four first-half treys then sunk free throws at the finish to lead the Razorbacks with 21 points.
Sophomore center Daniel Gafford of El Dorado, not touching the ball nearly enough in the first half that Arkansas led, 35-28, scored 11 of his total 13 points in the second half and grabbed a career high 14 rebounds.
Harris scored 11 and dealt 10 assists.
Freshman reserve big man Reggie Chaney, starting the second half in place of junior regular Adrio Bailey, also scored 11, grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots.
Superb Roadrunner guards Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace scored 20 and 18.
The Road Runners dropped to 3-7 but their record didn’t reflect their grit battling Arkansas both halves Saturday night.
Other than Joe’s game-opening first of his four first-half three and Mason Jones’ two free throws for 3-0 and 5-4 leads at 19:22 and 18:05, the Razorbacks trailed in the first half from 17:51 until a Joe trey tied it 19-19 at 5:56 and another Joe trey put the Hogs up, 22-19 at 5:14. Wallace’s trey tied it 23-23 for UTSA before Arkansas initiated a 10-0.
Hustle plays by Gabe Osabuohien, taking a charge and then scoring inside first on a follow shot and then on an assist from fellow reserve Reggie Chaney, a jumper by Jalen Harris, and two free throws by freshman reserve Desi Sills keyed the run.
UTSA scored the next five but UTSA guard Jackson missed the front end of a 1 and 1 on with six seconds left. Arkansas used the six second for Sills to get fouled inside with :00.7 left.
Sills hit sank both free throws for the 35-28 lead.
Arkansas managed its lead despite an inexplicably long spell of Gafford not touching the ball after appearing to get untracked with a dunk from a Chaney feed at 10:41. The dunk comprised Gafford’s only points of the first half on 1 of 2 shots but he did net six first-half rebounds.
The Roadrunners failed to capitalize on Gafford’s lack of offense.
After hitting 6 of 7 shots from the field opening the first half half, the Roadrunners hit but 4 of their next 20 before intermission.
Editor’s Note: SWARK Today is proud to present post-game coverage of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks sports with the Nate Allen Sports Service of Fayetteville. SWARK Today is your local source for Razorback athletics including 2018-19 men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball.