A trio of Arkansas freshmen — Moses Moody, Davonte “Devo” Davis, and Jaylin Williams — combined for 47 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block to lead the Razorbacks to a bounce-back 99-69 demolition of Georgia on Saturday at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, snapping a 2-game losing streak.
Arkansas (10-2, 2-2 SEC) blew open a 6-point advantage at halftime in running away for a 30-point victory. The Hogs have now won 8 of their last 11 matchups against Georgia (7-3, 0-3 SEC) as Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman picked up his first win against the Bulldogs and his 30th win overall as Head Hog.
Coming off his low-point game as a Razorback (6 points) in a 79-74 road loss against No. 9 Tennessee on Wednesday, Moody (6-6 shooting guard from Little Rock and Arkansas’ leading scorer on the season) struck back on Saturday with a career-high 25 points (9-of-15 field goals, including 2-of-6 from 3, and 5-of-5 free throws) to go with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal; Davis (6-4 combo guard from Jacksonville) made his second career start and finished with an overall strong floor game — a career-high 20 points (9-of-14 field goals, including 1-of-2 from 3, and 1-of-1 free throw), 7 rebounds, a career-high 6 assists, and 2 steals; while Williams (6-10 forward from Fort Smith) recorded 2 points (1-of-2 field goals), a team-high 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal off the bench.
“We played very well,” Davis said of the freshmen trio’s performance Saturday. “We go into practice with a chip on our shoulder coming off losing two games. We’re fine. We just came in, put a lot of emphais into the scouting. Did what we had to do to win the game. Me and Jaylin, we’re probably the two guys that just do a lot of little things, and we try to get everyone else involved in that. So, just bringing the energy from us two, just bringing everybody else in, and whatever we have to do as freshmen to have us bring everything to the table, we’ll do that. That’s what we did, and we got the job done.”
Senior grad-transfer forward Vance Jackson, Jr., had another strong showing in his first start since the season-opener, contributing 15 points (5-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-5 from 3, and 1-of-2 free throws). Senior grad-transfer combo guard Jalen Tate contributed a double-double (15 points and 10 assists to go with 4 rebounds and 2 steals). Junior guard JD Notae finished with 12 points and junior guard Desi Sills of Jonesboro chipped in 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.
The Hogs were plus-10 on the glass (40-30), plus-13 in assists (24-11), and plus-7 in turnovers (21-14), but more impressively they were plus-17 in points-off-turnovers (25-8) while having another good shooting night (36-of-69 overll shooting for 52.2%, including a blistering 12-of-21 from 3 for 57.1%, and 15-of-18 from the foul line for 83.3%). Georgia shot 27-of-63 from the field (42.9%), but only 5-of-19 from 3 (26.3%). The ‘Dogs were 10-of-13 on freebies (76.9%).
The Hogs dominated the second half, turning a 43-37 halftime advantage into leads of 15 points (58-43 at the 15:16 mark), 21 points (70-49 with 12:01 to play), 25 points (77-52 at 9:46), and 35 points (88-53 with 6:00 remaining in the game) before finishing with their final winning margin of 30 points. In the second half alone, Arkansas made 21-of-35 field goals (60%), including 6-of-8 from 3 (75%), and 8-of-10 free throws while outscoring Georgia 56-32 in the final 20 minutes.
Georgia was led by forwards Andrew Garcia (15 points and 11 rebounds), Toumani Camara (15 points), and PJ Horne (10 points and 5 rebounds), while point guard Sahvir Wheeler contributed 15 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.
“I thought it was as good as a game as we’ve had conference-wise since I’ve been here,” said Mussleman, who is now 30-14 at Arkansas, including 10-13 in SEC games. “I thought we did a really good job taking away some of the transition points, and then our point of emphasis was not to slow the ball down. We wanted run at every single opportunity we could. We had a very, very sour, sour, sour taste in our mouth after losing two. One, the Missouri game we could not have played any worse. And then we thought we battled hard at Tennesse, and that was a game we could have won as well.
“We have two really difficult road games coming up, and this was a really tough stretch for us. We’re sitting here at 2-2, and we’ve got two road games, and just do the best we can.”
Next up for Arkansas are back-to-back road games — at LSU on Wednesday (6 p.m. CT on ESPN2) and at Alabama next Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network).
Musselman turned to his third different starting lineup since the start of league play, inserting Jackson and Davis along with regular starters Moody, Tate, and sophomore big man Connor Vanover.
The Hogs fell behind 6-1 out of the gates, but behind Moody and Davis each scoring 12 points in the first 20 minutes Arkansas carried a 43-37 lead into the break.