NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Isaiah Joe made five 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and Arkansas held off UTSA 79-67 on Saturday night.
Four of Joe’s triples game in the first half, but his second-half shot was key for the Razorback (7-3), who found themselves in an unexpected late back-and-forth contest with the Roadrunners (3-7). With under 10 minutes to play, the undersized UTSA team led 52-48 and displayed an excellent game plan to shut down forward Daniel Gafford, who was limited to five points at that point.
Reggie Chaney hit a jumper to cut UTSA’s lead to two before Joe’s 3-pointer gave the Hogs a 53-52 lead. Jhivvan Jackson made a free throw to tie it at 53, but the Hogs didn’t trail after that point.
Gafford came alive with some key dunks late to rally the North Little Rock crowd, and finished 13 points and 14 rebounds. Chaney was as a quality understudy, putting up his second 11-point game of the season along with five rebounds and four assists.
Arkansas entered shooting 62.7 percent from the free-throw line, but the Hogs were 27 of 34 (79.4 percent) on Saturday night. Jalen Harris shot 7 of 8 from the line in the second half to play a part in fending off the Roadrunners, who hit five 3s to the Razorbacks’ one in the second half. The pass-first playmaker finished with 11 points and 10 assists to join Gafford in the double-double club.
Jackson led UTSA with 20 points before fouling out late in the second half. Keaton Wallace added 18 of his own.
Arkansas: In the first half, the Hogs relied on shots outside the paint, but Gafford was limited to two points. In the second half, their outside touch disappeared, but penetration opened up the lane and low post, and Gafford and Chaney showed an ability to be a one-two punch down low. . Harris’ 10 assists were the most registered by a Razorback in Verizon Arena, and Gafford’s 14 rebounds tied Moses Kingsley for the most in the building.
UTSA: The Roadrunners came into the game shooting 31.1 percent on 3s, and they went 8-for-29 shooting from deep Saturday night. Despite Arkansas doing a relatively solid job defensively from the perimeter, Jackson and Wallace attempted many step-back, isolation 3-pointers. They combined to shoot 7 for 23 from long range. . Senior forward Nick Allen held his own against Gafford, but once the Razorbacks focused on getting the ball inside during the second half, the Arizona native had a tough time staying out of foul trouble.
The Razorbacks have won their last three North Little Rock games.
UTSA hosts Bethany College on Monday.
Arkansas hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 35 – UTSA 28
- Arkansas scored first, but UTSA led most of the first half. However, Arkansas held the Roadrunners without a field goal for 7:57 – UTSA only scored three points over the span thanks to three free throws. Isaiah Joe made a 3-pointer to tie the game, 19-19 at 5:57. Joe then banked a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Razorbacks a 22-19 advantage with 5:16 left in the first half.
- The Roadrunner drought ended when Keaton Wallace hit a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound, tying the game at 23-23.
- Jalen Harris answered with a jumper in the lane as the shot clock expired to start a 10-0 run to put the Razorbacks up 33-23 with 1:25 left.
- Desi Sills made two free throws with six-tenths of a second left to provide the 35-28 Razorback halftime score.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas makes free throws down the stretch; Chaney provides a second-half spark.
- Arkansas maintained the lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half until Keaton Wallace made a 3-pointer with 10:24 left to give UTSA a 50-48 lead.
- Jalen Harris made a pair of free throws with 7:49 left to put the Razorbacks up two, 55-53, and never relinquished the lead.
- However, UTSA got to within two, 64-62, with 2:23 left on a Jhivan Jackson 3-pointer.
- From that point, Arkansas made 12-of-14 from the line to help put the game away.
- Reggie Chaney scored 10 of his 11 points in the second half. He finished the night adding five rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and four steals.
- Daniel Gafford also played well in the second half, getting 11 of his 13 points and eight of his 14 boards.
- Arkansas starters for the ninth straight game were Isaiah Joe (G) – Jalen Harris (G) – Mason Jones (G) – Adrio Bailey (F) – Daniel Gafford (F).
- Arkansas controlled the tip and Isaiah Joe scored the first points, a 3-pointers at the 19:04 mark.
- This was the sixth meeting between Arkansas and UTSA. The Razorbacks won the first five meetings, including a 4-0 mark in the state of Arkansas – 3-0 in Fayetteville and 1-0 in Little Rock. The first game of the series – Nov. 30, 1981 – was a Razorback in San Antonio, which was the first game in the Roadrunners’ program history.
- Jalen Harris was 7-of-8 from the free throw line, all in the second half. Isaiah Joe was 6-of-6 from the line, also all in the second half.
- Reggie Chaney posted career highs in points (11), assists (4), blocked shots (3, tied) and steals (4).
- Daniel Gafford’s 14 rebounds were a career-high by two. Three times this season and five times in his career he had 12 rebounds.
- Jalen Harris, who was second in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio entering the game, had 10 assists and zero turnovers in 34 minutes. He was also seventh in the NCAA in assists entering the game with a 7.3 average.
- Isaiah Joe entered the game fifth in the NCAA in 3-pointers made per game (4.13) but improved on that by making 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
- Four Razorbacks scored in double figures (Isaiah Joe with 21 points, Daniel Gafford with 13, Jalen Harris with 11 and Reggie Chaney with 11). Isaiah Joe and Daniel Gafford are the only Razorbacks to score in double figures in all nine games this season.