FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Mason Jones scored 16 points and big man Daniel Gafford overcame a sluggish start to finish with 12, helping Arkansas beat Colorado State 98-74 on Wednesday night for its sixth straight win.
Arkansas (6-1) led by as many as 22 points early in the second when the Rams (4-5) went on a 17-2 run to make things interesting. After a timeout to regain their composure, the Razorbacks came out refocused and reeled off 13 straight points to wrap up the win.
There were nearly a dozen NBA scouts on hand to catch a glimpse of the 6-foot-11 Gafford, who’s largely viewed as a lottery pick. He played limited minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, but he found his rhythm after intermission. He added nine rebounds and three assists.
Isaiah Joe kept up his torrid shooting by contributing 14 points. The freshman guard was coming off a 34-point outing against Florida International that earned him the Southeastern Conference basketball player of the week honours.
The Razorbacks’ bench came up clutch by outscoring the Rams by a 38-7 margin. Jalen Harris had 12 assists, quite a few leading to dunks.
J.D. Paige and Kendle More each scored 16 points for the Rams. Nico Carvacho scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds before fouling out.
The Razorbacks basketball team gained a measure of revenge for the school. In September, the football team squandered an 18-point lead in a 34-27 loss to Colorado State. This time, they weren’t about to let a lead slip away.
It was a rare visit to Fort Collins by an SEC men’s basketball team. This marked the first time since 2005 a team from that league played at Moby Arena.
Arkansas: Even when Gafford went to the bench with early foul trouble, the Razorbacks had plenty of players to pick up the slack. To think, the Razorbacks were selected 10th in the preseason SEC poll. Then again, in each of the last five seasons the team has eclipsed the preseason polls.
Colorado State: First-year Rams coach Niko Medved had to like what he saw in the second half. On the verge of getting blown out, the Rams threw a scare at Arkansas.
Arkansas: Hosts Western Kentucky on Saturday in the first meeting between the two programs since 1974. The Razorbacks lead the series 4-2.
Colorado State: Play the second of a three-game homestand Saturday against Sam Houston State.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press