Barford scores 19, Arkansas wins season-high 5th straight
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Jaylen Barford told anyone who would listen before the season that he had spent much of the offseason working on his 3-point shot.
Even the Arkansas senior couldn’t have known the results of his work would have turned out this good.
Barford continued his season-long assault from behind the arc while scoring 19 points in the Razorbacks 95-68 win over CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday night.
The 6-foot-3 guard scored 12 of his points in the second half, and he finished 8 of 12 from the field – including 3 of 5 3-pointers. Two of his makes from behind the arc came late in the game when he scored eight straight points for Arkansas (10-2), which struggled to put away a Roadrunners team that trailed by only four points at halftime.
Barford also added a step-back rainbow jumper and layup on which he changed hands and spun the ball off the backboard with his left hand.
”Jaylen is a shot-maker; he can make some tough shots,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ”… He’s always been a gifted scorer, but I think now he’s playing even a lot more selectively.”
Five players finished in double figures for the Razorbacks, with Daryl Macon adding 16 points, Anton Beard 15, Darious Hall a career-high 14 and Dustin Thomas 10. Freshman Daniel Gafford also had a career-best 12 rebounds, but it was Barford who sparked the Razorbacks to a 67.7 percent (21 of 31) shooting percentage in the second half.
Barford shot just 26.6 percent on 3-pointers in his first season with the Razorbacks after transferring from junior college a year ago. After his offseason work, the senior entered Wednesday ninth in the Southeastern Conference on 3-pointers – connecting on 45.1 percent of his shots from deep.
He raised that percentage on Wednesday while also matching his season average of 18.5 points per game.
”(Barford’s) confidence is sky high right now,” Macon said. ”He feels like when he’s on the floor, he’s the best guard on the floor and nobody can guard him, in his head. That’s a great way to go out there and play.”
Jarkel Joiner scored 12 points to lead CSU Bakersfield (7-8), and Rickey Holden and Justin Davis added 11 points each in the loss.
Roadrunners coach Rod Barnes entered the game 11-5 against Arkansas from his time as the coach at Mississippi, but he had few answers afterward.
”I thought in the second half their key guys came to the game and stepped it up,” Barnes said. ”They’ve got a talented group of guards, and their big guys work extremely hard.”
RIGHT AT HOME
Arkansas entered Wednesday having won its home games by an average of 25.3 points this season. The Razorbacks raised that average thanks to a second half in which they outscored CSU Bakersfield 53-30.
CSU Bakersfield: The Roadrunners reached the NCAA Tournament two years ago and the NIT semifinals last season, but they lost three of five starters from that team – and they have now lost six of their last nine games. Joiner was only 3 of 11 from the field on Wednesday night, and CSU Bakersfield shot only 34.4 percent (22 of 64) in the loss.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks led by as many as 11 points in the first half before settling for a 42-38 halftime edge, their smallest lead at the break at home this season. Arkansas had outscored its first six home opponents by an average of 20 points in the first half, and its previous smallest home halftime lead was eight points in a win over Minnesota on Dec. 9.
CSU Bakersfield is at Utah Valley on Jan. 6.
The Razorbacks open Southeastern Conference play by hosting No. 19 Tennessee on Saturday.
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