Walt Beazley

Razorback Bench Spurs Win Over Evansville

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas men’s basketball team’s depth flexed its muscles on Tuesday night, as a 40-2 advantage from the Razorback bench led the team to a 89-76 victory over Evansville in Bud Walton Arena.

Dusty Hannahs finished with a season-high 23 points after netting 16 in the first half alone, helping Arkansas climb from an 11-3 deficit to a 44-32 lead after the first 20 minutes. Anthlon Bell had 21 points for the game, including 18 in the second half to carry the Razorbacks to the 13-point win.

The Purple Aces, who entered the evening as No. 44 in the NCAA RPI rankings, jumped out to an early eight-point lead, but the tide turned when head coach Mike Anderson looked to his bench. Along with Hannahs’ 16 first half points, Manuale Watkins added six – and finished with 10 – while Willy Kouassi added seven. They helped Arkansas bring a 12 lead to the locker room, who at one point made 11-of-14 shots as a team.

When the second half started, Bell began heating up. The senior guard was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field in the second half, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. He finished 5-for-6 from deep, while Arkansas finished a program-record 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) beyond the arc. The Razorbacks led by double digits for the entirety of the second half, seeing their advantage jump to as many as 16 as they improved to 4-4 on the season.

“I can’t say enough about our bench. The strongest component of our team, I always thought, has been our bench. It was very evident today that the bench played very well. Dusty had one of those games where he went on a tremendous run, and guys did a good job of finding him.” — Head coach Mike Anderson

“Willy does all the things he needs to do to help us win. He doesn’t worry about the scoring; he just brings toughness and energy to the ball game. That’s good for us when we have a player like Willy coming off the bench bringing energy to this team.” — Senior guard Anthlon Bell

It was Anderson’s 90th career win at Arkansas; he now boasts a 90-52 (.634) overall record with the Razorbacks.
Hannahs, Bell and Moses Kingsley have now scored in double digits in all eight games this year.
Trey Thompson returned to the court for the first time since he suffered an ankle injury Nov. 26 against Georgia Tech. He played four minutes and recorded one assist.
Jabril Durham led the team with a career-high nine rebounds, seven assists and 35 minutes played. He also added nine points on 3-for-6 shooting.
With three assists in the game, Watkins has now recorded two-plus assists in all eight games this season.
Arkansas’ 89 points were the most given up by Evansville since Feb. 12, 2014, in a 104-98 overtime win vs. Illinois State.

The Razorbacks return to the court on Saturday, Dec. 12, when the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles come to Fayetteville for a 7 p.m. tip off in Bud Walton Arena.