On one hand, it’s same old, same old.
On the other hand, though, Razorback fans can’t get enough of it.
And with two hands?
Daniel Gafford threw down perhaps his nastiest two-handed slam yet to open SEC play and help lead Arkansas to a 73-71 road win.
The facial came against Aggie Christian Mekowulu, a 6’8”, 245-pound piece of granite who had the audacity to think he could get up with Gafford.
HOW IT WENT DOWN
Arkansas was up a point early in the second half when Razorback point god* Jalen Harris drove baseline to the basket. Mekowulu rotated to block the path of Harris, who quickly no-look dished to a cutting Gafford.
Daniel Gafford snatched the ball, gathered himself about six feet away from the basket and power jumped. Mekowulu rotated back to challenge, only to discover his arms were laughably short.
Peep the resulting devastation at the 1:08 marker below:
Gafford’s simply too explosive and too long for anybody in college to challenge without fouling. Even at the NBA level, few players outside of Giannis Antetokounmpo, JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis could match his reach and leaping quickness.
As the rim was still shaking, Daniel Gafford nonchalantly trotted back like it was an everyday occurrence. Arkansas legend Pat Bradley, who was announcing the game for the SEC Network, for the most part did a great job of staying objective on air.
But he let his Razorback red briefly bleed through on this play. “THAT’S gonna be a Top 10 right there!” Bradley exclaimed. “What did I tell you — he’s gonna try to dunk everything!”
Daniel Gafford finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds — his seventh double-double this season. He and Isaiah Joe (11 points) are the only Razorbacks to score in double figures in every game .
*Hyperbolic, I know. Jalen Harris isn’t quite operating in “god mode” yet. Yes, he needs to shoot better. But he’s very good at the main jobs of a point guard. Harris’s handles are elite, as good as any Hog since Kareem Reid. And, so far in his 13-game Arkansas career, he’s the best Razorback ever in terms of assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.
To go along with a career-high 15 points against Texas A&M, Harris had zero turnovers. He entered the game third in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio.
After his nine assists against Texas A&M, he’s averaging 6.85 assists per game in 13 games.
Arkansas-Texas A&M Game Notes
- Beginning its 28th season in the Southeastern Conference, Arkansas is 16-12 all-time in SEC openers.
- Texas A&M is one of two teams on this year’s schedule that Arkansas played in its inaugural season in 1923-24. Texas is the other. It is no coincidence that both Texas A&M and Texas rank 1-2 as the most common opponents in Razorback history.
- With Texas A&M joining the SEC in 2012-13, the Aggies are the Razorbacks’ most common opponent with 158t games played in the series. The Razorbacks own a 103-55 advantage in the series, including a 39-37 advantage in games played in College Station. Arkansas is up 7-4 in games since the Aggies joined the SEC.
- Gabe Osabuohien had a career-high seven rebounds and tied his career high with six points. He also scored six in a win over the Aggies last season in Fayetteville.
- Gabe Osabuohien and Desi Sills were the first two players off the bench. Osabuohien has been the first sub 11 times this season and Sills has been first off the bench nine times. The two have been first off the bench eight times this season, including each of the last six games.
- Desi Sills reached double figures for the first time in his career, finishing with a season-best 14 points.