Hot-shooting Arkansas downs SE Louisiana 111-65
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)
The rest of the Razorbacks followed the lead of their senior point guard on Tuesday night, with all 14 players scoring in a 111-65 win over Southeastern Louisiana.
Arkansas (5-2) shot a season-high 62.3 percent (38 of 61) in the blowout win, with Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls setting the pace - combining to finish 12 of 15 from the floor.
It was Haydar, however, who provided the early spark in his first start in his 67th career game. The senior found out just minutes before the game he was starting, and he responded with three early 3-pointers - helping the Razorbacks finish 9 of 18 for the game from behind the arc.
''Tonight was a fun game,'' Haydar said. ''We were due for a game like this where everything kind of clicked on all cylinders.''
Arkansas struggled to shoot the basketball in its last game, finishing 4 of 21 on 3-pointers in a 91-81 loss to No. 19 Gonzaga at last week's Maui Invitational.
Led by Portis' 7-of-9 effort and Qualls' 5-of-6 shooting performance, the Razorbacks had no such problems against the Lions (3-4). They shot 63 percent in the first half and 61.8 in the second on their way to topping the 100-point mark for the first time since a 112-63 win over Longwood on Nov. 18, 2012.
''Did we take some lessons learned from Hawaii? Yes, we did,'' Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ''But hopefully we've got a lot of room for improvement, and hopefully we can get better.''
Jeffery Ricard led Southeastern Louisiana with 14 points, while Dre Evans finished with 10.
The Lions are now 0-3 this season against teams from the Southeastern Conference, having already lost to both Missouri and LSU. They played well in their last trip to Bud Walton Arena, a 62-55 loss in Anderson's first season two years ago, but Tuesday night was another story entirely.
''It's starting to become Mike's team,'' Southeastern Louisiana coach Jim Yarbrough said. ''It's starting to look like a Mike Anderson team.''
The Lions put up little fight against an Arkansas team eager to build on a solid showing in Hawaii last week, a tournament in which it defeated Minnesota between tough losses to California and Gonzaga.
After leading 52-32 at halftime, Arkansas quickly put the game out of reach to open the second half - with Portis and a variety of dunks from Qualls leading the way.
The Razorbacks went on a 35-5 run to open the half, building an 87-37 lead after Jacorey Williams' two-handed dunk. Another Williams' dunk, this one a one-handed version, put Arkansas over the 100-point mark - giving it a 101-44 lead.
Coty Clarke also finished in double figures with 15 points off the bench, while Ky Madden added 10. The Razorbacks scored 41 points of 24 turnovers by the Lions, and no player played more than 18 minutes.
Portis, the freshman McDonald's All-American, finished in double figures for the third straight game after scoring a season-low five points in the loss to California.
''I think that Hawaii made me a better basketball player because I was going against people that were bigger and stronger and faster than me,'' Portis said. ''I just had to adjust and be more of an impact player.''
Led by Haydar, Arkansas opened the game 8 of 12 from the floor and raced to an early 26-7 lead. The senior finished 3 of 5 on 3-pointers, all in the first half, during which the Razorbacks were 8 of 13 from behind the arc.
''I saw them play against Gonzaga's zone and was kind of hopeful maybe if we came out in it a little bit, maybe we would slow them down a little,'' Yarbrough said. ''But the difference was they weren't in Hawaii. They were in their building, and they did a great job of making shots tonight.''
Williams' jumper gave Arkansas its largest lead of the first half, putting the Razorbacks up 40-14 and capping a 10-2 run.
The performance was exactly the type of confidence-building game Anderson had hoped for coming off last week's trip to Hawaii - where the Razorbacks played well but finished 1-2.
''They had fun,'' Anderson said. ''It was a fun night for some of our guys that generally don't get a chance to play, and I think keeps the team camaraderie going in the right direction.''