NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas basketball team is playing Bradley in its annual trip to central Arkansas on Saturday.
Tipoff between the No. 10 Razorbacks and Braves is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock. Arkansas comes in with a 9-1 record, while Bradley is 7-3.
As a reminder, the game is not televised because it was not picked up by any of the ESPN channels or the SEC Network, which own the rights to the game. It can’t be streamed online because the infrastructure needed to stream on SEC Network-Plus is all based in Fayetteville.
Nevertheless, Best of Arkansas Sports is in the building and will be providing updates from what is essentially a homecoming game for Davonte Davis and Nick Smith Jr. The game is also available via radio, with Chuck Barrett and Matt Zimmerman on the call.
Click here to read Best of Arkansas Sports’ full preview of the matchup. Updates from the game will be posted below.
LIVE UPDATES – Arkansas vs Bradley
This will be the fourth straight game Arkansas is using the same starting lineup.
Representatives from the Liberty Bowl – as well as the trophy for the game – are in the building.
This will be the first Arkansas vs Bradley matchup in men’s hoops.
Update from Omaha: The women remain undefeated with an 83-75 win over Creighton in a road top-25 matchup.
The loudest ovation of the pregame warmups was, unsurprisingly, for Nick Smith Jr.
14:26, 1H – Arkansas 9, Bradley 7
As is tradition, Makhi Mitchell scored the first points of the game for Arkansas. It came more than 1.5 minutes in and off an offensive rebound, as the Razorbacks came up empty their first couple of possessions.
It looks like Jordan Walsh built up some confidence in last week’s win over Oklahoma. He’s had a couple of aggressive base line drives early. The first resulted in a bucket and the second resulted in a foul that sent him to the line, where he made 2 of 2. Earlier, he did a nice job stealing the ball away on a Bradley defensive rebound.
The Razorbacks have forced six turnovers so far, but the Braves are staying in it because they’ve made 3 of 5 shots they’ve gotten off. They aren’t handling the pressure, though. Arkansas is harassing whoever has the ball, contributing to all of the turnovers.
12:27, 1H – Arkansas 13, Bradley 7
Davonte Davis and Kamani Johnson are the first guys off the bench, checking in after the U16 media timeout.
Jordan Walsh just threw down back-to-back dunks in transition and the crowd erupts. One was off a turnover he forced himself and the second was when Davis jumped in front of a pass to start the fast break. The second of those led to Bradley calling a timeout.
7:26, 1H – Arkansas 20, Bradley 12
Arkansas stretched its run to 11-0, extending its lead to 10, before Bradley drew a foul to get to the free throw line. It made just 1 of 2. Walsh continued his solid play by knocking down a 3 from the wing, making it a 14-1 run.
Makhel Mitchell is the next guy off the bench.
It doesn’t matter who he’s guarding, no one for Bradley can do anything against Walsh. He’s making life hard on guards and big men.
The Razorbacks have turned 12 turnovers by the Braves into 16 points. That means all but four of their points are off of turnovers.
3:03, 1H – Arkansas 32, Bradley 21
Arkansas goes to a small ball lineup out of the media timeout: Black, Smith, Davis, Council and Walsh. It immediately forces two turnovers on Bradley’s next two possessions.
Man, Walsh has seemed like an entirely different player the last two games. He just got a tough bucket to fall down low, drew a foul (made 1 of 2 FTs) on the next possession and then drove base line for a reverse layup on the next one. When he checked out of the game, the crowd gave him a well-deserved ovation.
Arkansas had only two fouls the first 15 minutes or so of the half, but was just called for three in a span of two seconds. At least two of them were questionable.
A steal by Davis and long bounce pass led to an impressive layup in transition by Black.
Another questionable foul – this time on Johnson – sends us to the final media timeout of the half.
HALF – Arkansas 37, Bradley 25
A shot clock violation out of the final media timeout is Bradley’s 16th turnover in 29 possessions. Its 30th possession ended with a blocked shot by Black.
Jalen Graham got some minutes late in the half. He missed a dunk, but did finish the possession with a bucket when a teammate grabbed the offensive rebound.
Bradley had a chance to get off the last shot of the half, but Deen – the 5-foot-8 point guard – didn’t realize how much time was left and dribbled the clock out. He might not have been able to see the clock because he was defended by Black (6-foot-7).
HALFTIME STATS – Arkansas vs Bradley
15:23, 2H – Arkansas 46, Bradley 32
It was a bit of an offensive struggle to start the half, but Makhi Mitchell was able to score the Hogs’ first four points down low.
Three minutes into the half, Nick Smith Jr. walked back to the locker room with the trainer.
Council just made tough shots near the rim on back-to-back possessions. He has an ability to almost levitate. He’s got 9 points now.
11:40, 2H – Arkansas 56, Bradley 36
Out of a media timeout, Council threw up a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key late in the shot clock and it went in. After the shot, Black and Mitchell had steals on back-to-back possessions. Both turnovers led to points, with Walsh finishing a layup in transition and Davis knocking down a mid-range jumper.
Bradley’s 22nd turnover comes on its second shot clock violation of the game and Davis knocks down a 3. Bradley calls a timeout and Musselman comes out on the floor to get the crowd fired up.
Another questionable foul on the Razorbacks eventually sends us to the under-12 media timeout. Musselman is not happy about it.
7:42, 2H – Arkansas 63, Bradley 44
There was actually a flagrant foul on Bradley on that play. Out of the timeout, Council was at the free throw line, made his first and was about to take the second one when an official came running in. Turns out it was supposed to be Anthony Black. He made both.
Jalen Graham just threw down a nasty dunk, but Walsh got a technical for taunting by tapping his head. Then, 52 seconds after the flagrant, Bradley’s coach got T’d up.
A quick 6-0 spurt cut the Razorbacks’ lead to 17, but Davis made a reverse layup on a nice feed by Graham.
3:58, 2H – Arkansas 71, Bradley 52
Black converts a three-point play to give him 13 points for the game.
It’s turned into a bit of a ref show down the stretch. After a review, Walsh was assessed a flagrant foul – his fifth foul of the game. He walked to the Bradley bench, shook their coach’s hand and then received a standing ovation as he walked to the Arkansas bench.
At the final media timeout, Walsh’s 18 points still leads the way, but is followed closely by Council’s 16 and Black’s 14. Bradley big man Rienk Mast is the Braves’ only player in double figures and he has 16.
FINAL – Arkansas 76, Bradley 57
Derrian Ford, Joseph Pinion and Barry Dunning Jr. checked into the game for the final 1:31. Walk-ons Lawson Blake and Cade Arbogast checked in for the final 43.1 seconds.
FINAL STATS – Arkansas vs Bradley
More about the Arkansas basketball game here:
Arkansas vs Bradley Starting Lineups
|#3 – G Zek Montgomery – So. | 6-6 | 210||#0 – G Anthony Black – Fr. | 6-7 | 198|
|#10 – G Connor Hickman – So. | 6-3 | 195||#3 – G Nick Smith Jr. – Fr. | 6-5 | 185|
|#21 – G Duke Deen – Jr. | 5-8 | 160||#1 – G Ricky Council IV – Jr. | 6-6 | 205|
|#14 – F Malevy Leons – Sr. | 6-9 | 210||#13 – G/F Jordan Walsh – Fr. | 6-7 | 205|
|#51 – F Rienk Mast – Jr. | 6-9 | 240||#15 – F/C Makhi Mitchell – Sr. | 6-9 | 230|
Arkansas Basketball in NLR
North Little Rock has not been kind to Arkansas basketball over the past two-plus decades. Since the building opened in 1999, the Razorbacks are just 12-10 inside Simmons Bank Arena (formerly Alltel and Verizon Arena).
That includes a 10-10 mark over the last 20 matchups, with the most recent being an 89-81 loss to Hofstra last season.
More coverage of Arkansas basketball from BoAS…