Hannahs’ hot shooting leads Arkansas past Evansville 89-76
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Dusty Hannahs fancies himself more than simply an outside-shooting specialist.
The Arkansas junior continued to show his evolving all-around game in an 89-76 win over Evansville on Tuesday night, scoring a season-high 23 points in leading the Razorbacks (4-4) back to .500 on the season.
Hannahs, the Southeastern Conference's leading 3-point shooter, was up to his usual outside antics against the Purple Aces (7-2) – hitting 3 of 5 3-pointers. However, facing a defense geared to stop his outside impact, the junior made countless plays in the lane and finished 5 of 11 overall from the field, along with hitting all 10 of his free throws.
''It's a lot easier when they're chasing you that hard,'' Hannahs said. ''Not all players that aren't shooters have that luxury, and if you have that other part of your game, it's definitely a luxury if they're behind me and I have that whole lane to get in front of them.''
Hannahs has now scored at least 21 points this season four times, and he was part of an outside onslaught that saw Arkansas hit 9 of 13 3-point attempts.
Anthlon Bell was 5 of 6 on 3-pointers, finishing with 21 points for the Razorbacks, and he and Hannahs have now combined for 48 made shots from beyond the arc on the season – the top tandem in the SEC.
Moses Kingsley added 12 points and Manule Watkins had 10 for Arkansas, which is now 57-1 at home against unranked nonconference competition under coach Mike Anderson.
Egidijus Mockevicius led the Purple Aces (7-2) with 22 points and 12 rebounds, finishing 9 of 11 from the field. Adam Wing added 21 points, hitting all eight of his field goals and all five free throws.
Evansville entered the game having won 12 of its last 13 games dating back to last season, but it struggled to keep up with the hot shooting of Arkansas.
D.J. Balentine, the country's 14th-leading scorer with an average of 22.3 points, struggled throughout and finished with 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting – and 1 of 6 on 3-point attempts.
''I thought we just did things too fast,'' Evansville coach Marty Simmons said. ''They sped us up, and our decision making wasn't what it needed to be.''
Arkansas trailed by as many as eight points in the first half before rallying to take a 44-32 halftime lead.
The Razorbacks were never threatened in the second half, thanks in large part to hitting 9 of 13 3-point attempts in the win – with Hannahs and Bell finishing a combined 8 of 11 from behind the arc.
Hannahs is now shooting 50 percent (23 of 46) on 3-pointers for the season, leading the Southeastern Conference.
''You can't substitute shooting,'' Anderson said. ''And when you've got guys that can knock it down, we're going to continue to encourage them to keep shooting it, too.''
Evansville led by as many as eight points early in the game thanks to some hot shooting, taking an 11-3 lead after back-to-back baskets by Wing.
The Purple Aces hit seven of their first 10 shots and continued to lead at 17-13 following an inside basket by Mockevicius, who had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half. They were only five of their next 17 from the field, however, and shot 44.4 percent (12 of 27) overall in the half.
Evansville: Mockevicius entered the game 10th in the country in field-goal percentage for the season, hitting 54 of 81 shots (66.7 percent) from the field. The 6-foot-10 senior from Lithuania continued his torrid pace on Tuesday, finishing 9 of 11.
Arkansas: Point guard Jabril Durham was the only Razorbacks player to hit a 3-pointer other than Hannahs and Bell, and the senior finished with nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Hannahs' 23 points were two off his career high of 25, which came against West Virginia while he played at Texas Tech in 2014. His 10 made free throws topped his previous career best 9-of-9 effort against South Dakota State in 2013.
Evansville hosts Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.
Arkansas hosts Tennessee Tech on Saturday.
- Anthlon Bell
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Dusty Hannahs
- Egidijus Mockevicius
- Evansville Purple Aces
- Moses Kingsley