FAYETTEVILLE – Credit this Moses with Arkansas’ newest testament.
For freshman guard Moses Moody’s 23 points and nine rebounds led the now 3-0 Razorbacks to their latest basketball triumph, a 72-60 victory over a solid University of Texas-Arlington team Wednesday night at Walton Arena.
UTA, 1-3, of the Sun Belt Conference earlier this season had contested well in a 75-68 loss to Big 12 power Oklahoma State but trailed the Razorbacks by 20 with 10:06 left before Arkansas hit a 1 for 15 shooting skid.
“I was really happy with the first 30 minutes,” Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman said. “Really disappointed with the way we finished the game.”
Other than a couple of missed layups, he could find no fault with Moody, a 6-6 guard grabbing nine boards after netting only two in Arkansas’ 69-54 victory last Saturday over North Texas, while shooting 7 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 3 threes, and 8 of 10 from the free throw line.
“I love that Moses can score in different ways,” Musselman said. “He’s really, really, really coachable. I love the fact that he had 10 free throws attempt and nine rebounds. Love it.
That’s awesome. For a freshman in his third gamer to go out and get 24/9 (points and rebounds) and 10 FTAs (free throws attempted) is really impressive.”
Moody’s rebounding may have impressed Musselman most.
“He went from one defensive rebound (against North Texas) to a total of nine rebounds, six defensive,” Musselman said. “When he rebounds at a high level it changes the complexion of our defense.”
Moody said his offensive game came to him while he went out what he could rebounding.
“That (rebounding) is something Coach has really been stressing to me,” Moody said. “It’s just a way that I can help the team, adding that to my role, being a guy who can crash the glass and get rebounds with my length and size. I’m physically blessed to be able to do that.”
Moody got plenty help. Graduate transfer point guard Jalen Tate, “a Jack of all trades,” Musselman said with admiration, scored 14 points with six rebounds and four assists.
Sophomore center Connor Vanover scored a dozen points in a dozen minutes and blocked two shots while forward Justin Smith nearly double-doubled with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Musselman praised the unsung off the bench minutes of freshman Jaylin Williams. The 6-10 forward from Fort Smith Northside took no shots but grabbed three rebounds, took two charges, blocked a shot and made a steal.
“ I thought off the bench Jaylin Williams was phenomenal in his minutes,” Musselman said. “I thought he did all the little things. Took a couple of charges, rebounded the basketball.”
Musselman said the Hogs “took care of the ball” playing a fast pace with just 11 turnovers against a “high steal” Mavericks team netting “a season low seven steals” Wednesday while Arkansas enjoyed a 20-10 points off turnovers advantage from UTA’s 14 miscues.
Shahada Wells, the leading scorer for Coach Chris Ogden’s Mavericks averaging 18 points per game, finished with 17 but most came during the Hogs sloppy finish with the game out of UTA’s reach.
UTA guard David Azore, averaging 14.7, was lured into foul trouble limiting to just 15 minutes and five points.
“I thought we did a great job on No. 4 (Azore) who is a first-team all-league guy,” Musselman said. “Holding him to five points. And we wanted to go at a couple of their better offensive players to get them in foul trouble and we certainly did that in the first half. So a lot of really good things to take away.”
And some things he’d like to do away.
“We went through our bad stretch to end the game,” Musselman said. “We certainly got some things we can clean up.”
The Razorbacks start their cleanup hosting Lipscomb University at 5 p.m. Saturday at Walton Arena.