Kingsley leads Arkansas in rout of UT-Martin
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)
Led by freshman center Moses Kingsley, Bobby Portis and Coty Clarke, the Razorbacks certainly made the most of their frontcourt edge in a 102-56 win against the Skyhawks on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-10 Kingsley posted career highs of 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Portis and Clarke added 15 points and nine rebounds each as Arkansas (8-2) matched its largest victory of the season and won its 21st-straight home game. The three combined for 42 points and 30 rebounds against a Tennessee-Martin (5-9) team whose tallest player was 6-foot-7.
The Razorbacks shot 60.9 percent (42 of 69) in the win - with Kingsley, Portis and Clarke combining to finish 18 of 25 from the floor as Arkansas outscored the Skyhawks 54-18 in the paint and out-rebounded Tennessee-Martin 49-31
''We played to our strength, which is we had a size advantage,'' Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ''And we did a good job of taking advantage of that against UT-Martin.''
While Kingsley came off the bench for his career night, he had plenty of support from the beginning from fellow freshman Portis. The 6-foot-10 forward and McDonald's All-American continued his stellar play of late on Thursday, finishing in double figures for the sixth straight game.
Terence Smith led the Skyhawks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped, with 19 points. Tennessee-Martin was just 19 of 69 (27.5 percent) from the field.
The loss was the worst of the season for Tennessee-Martin, topping a 30-point loss to UNLV on Nov. 30.
''From a defensive standpoint, we haven't play one better,'' Skyhawks coach Jason James said. ''They play with such a sense of urgency on the defensive end.
''... They play like their house is on fire, and they they've got to rush to get everything out. Tonight they got everything out of the house before it burned down.''
The game was Arkansas' first in seven days, after taking the week off for finals. The Razorbacks certainly didn't look like they had been away from the court early, nor did they resemble the team that struggled to a 27-25 halftime lead last week against Savannah State.
Led by Kingsley's big first half off the bench, Arkansas opened the game on a 12-2 run and never looked back - leading by as many as 27 points in the first half.
The center, whose previous career-best was a nine-point effort against Gonzaga on Nov. 27, put the Razorbacks up 82-42 in the second half with a dunk. The basket put him in double figures, and it was one of several highlight-worthy dunks on the night for Arkansas.
''The few games I played earlier, I didn't let the game come to me,'' Kingsley said. ''I was trying to go get the game. But recently, like the past three weeks, I've been letting the game come to me. I don't want to force anything.''
Michael Qualls and Ky Madden also finished in double figures with 11 each for the Razorbacks, who padded their Southeastern Conference-best average of 86.8 points per game and also finished with a season-best 24 assists. They have now won 41 games in a row at home against unranked non-conference opponents.
It was the second time Arkansas has topped the 100-point mark this season. It's best scoring output came in a 111-65 win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Dec. 3 - a 46-point win that Arkansas matched on Thursday.
The Razorbacks were 10 of 21 on 3-pointers, while Tennessee-Martin was just 5 of 21 from behind the arc.
''We just came out focused,'' Anderson said. ''This team, I think they're listening.''
Arkansas led comfortably 49-25 at halftime, bolstered by shooting 60 percent (21 of 35) in the half and the emergence of Kingsley - the freshman center who entered the game averaging just 4.6 points in 9.3 minutes per game.
Kingsley nearly equaled his previous career-high of nine points in the first half, finishing with eight on 4-of-5 shooting in just 9 minutes. He did equal his career-best of seven rebounds in the half, including one on the offensive end that led to a 3-pointer by Fred Gulley and a 17-9 lead for the Razorbacks.
Kingsley finished 5 of 6 from the floor in a career-high 20 minutes of action.
''Moses' confidence is high right now,'' Portis said. ''So, the sky is the limit for him.''