COMO, Italy – Arkansas did not allow a field goal until 10 seconds left in the first quarter – to lead 20-5 – and Travon Brazile scored 28 points with nine rebounds to lead the Razorbacks to a 70-59 victory over the Bakken Bears in the fourth and final game in Arkansas’ foreign tour.
Brazile made 13-of-15 from the field while Kamani Johnson finished with nine rebounds and eight points. Ricky Council IV and Davonte Davis each scored 10 points and Anthony Black led the squad with seven assists.
Nick Smith Jr., who did not play the second half with a minor leg injury, drained a 3-pointer 16 seconds into the game and Arkansas led the rest of the way. Bakken, a top-tier pro team from Denmark featuring Arkansas native Skylar Bowlin (Paragould), got to within one, 3-2, after a pair of free throws but would not score again until hitting a third free throw with 6:24 left. Arkansas’ swarming defense allowed the Razorbacks to lead 20-3 with 17 seconds left in the opening period. Bakken ended the dry spell from the field by making a layup with 10 seconds left to provide the 20-5 score after 10 minutes.
Bakken’s age and experience helped the Bears win the next two quarters (25-21 and 16-14). While the Hogs led by as many as 17 in the third quarter, Bakken trimmed its deficit to nine (55-46) after 15 minutes.
Arkansas had some sloppy play in the fourth quarter but still took a pair of 15-point leads – the last coming with 1:16 left – before Bakken scored the last four points to provide the 70-59 final.
Thanks to Brazile and Johnson, Arkansas dominated the boards, 44-32. However, Arkansas committed 30 turnovers, forcing 27 on 15 steals. Also, thanks to Brazile, Arkansas shot 49 percent from the field, compared to 31 percent by Bakken, and the Hogs held the Bears to 19 percent (5-of-26) from 3-point range.
Arkansas will leave Como early Tuesday morning (7:30 am local / 12:30 am CT) for a flight from Milan to New York City then connect on to Fayetteville with stops in Dallas (players and coaches) and Washington D.C. (staff and families). Arkansas should return to Fayetteville around 9:30 pm (CT), a nearly 18-hour travel day.