As homecomings go, it was a good one.
Arkansas rolled past Troy, 88-63, in front of a sellout crowd of 16,416 at North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena on Saturday night.
The only real question of night was how many points Arkansas was going to score.
The Hogs lead the Southeastern Conference with 88.1 points per game and have scored 90 points or more in seven games so far this season.
Arkansas missed the average by .1 points as the team appeared to be more interested in getting shots for little used sophomore guard Jonathan Holmes, who hit a three-pointer with :15.4 remaining while freshman forward Darious Hall provided the game’s exclamation mark with an emphatic slam dunk in the game’s closing seconds to set the final score.
The win pushes Arkansas to 8-2 on the season and Arkansas is now 5-2 at Verizon Arena since Mike Anderson returned to coach the program.
“This team matched the crowd’s energy,” Anderson said. “It was a game of runs and we know what we are capable of.”
The Hogs started sluggish against Troy with the Trojans jumping out to the early lead. But Arkansas senior guard Daryl Macon hit back to back three-pointers and followed with a steal and layup for an 8 point run by himself that pushed the Razorbacks into the lead with 15:11 remaining. It was a lead Arkansas never relinquished.
“They [Arkansas] made some three-pointer against our zone,” Troy coach Phil Cunningham said as his team fell to 5-6. “The game got away from us midway through that first half.”
For Macon it was a return home to central Arkansas as he starred at Little Rock Parkview. Macon finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. Macon was effective from beyond the three-point line hitting 5-of-9 in the win.
“It felt good to finally find my shot again,” Macon said in the post-game press conference. “It was a good environment … The crowd was amazing tonight.”
Anton Beard, another senior, was also back home in North Little Rock, where as a senior he led his hometown Charging Wildcats to a Class 7A state championship his senior year of high school.
“The fans came out,” Beard said, “and this game was sold out. It was great to see the people here.”
Beard finished the game with 11 while freshman Daniel Gafford and sophomore Adrio Bailey were also both in double figures with 10 points each.
Macon and Beard both left the game with 3:21 remaining in the second half as the cheers rained down from the central Arkansas fans for the duo.
Arkansas will host Oral Roberts at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 19 in a game that will be televised by the SEC Network. Troy is also in action that night and travel to Clarksville, Tenn., to face Austin Peay of the Ohio Valley Conference.