FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jaylen Barford scored 21 of his 27 points in the first half, and backcourt-mate Daryl Macon added 21 to lead Arkansas to a 101-73 victory over Bucknell on Sunday evening at Bud Walton Arena. Zach Thomas recorded his second straight double-double to start the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bison.
Nana Foulland added 17 points, and Stephen Brown had 13 points and nine assists for Bucknell, which has now dropped back-to-back games for the first time since the end of the 2015-16 season. After a one-point loss at Monmouth on Friday, the Bison had a tough test against a veteran Southeastern Conference team that starts four seniors and was coming off a 39-point rout of Samford in its opener.
“We knew coming in that Arkansas was a very good team, and they proved it tonight,” said head coach Nathan Davis. “They are very unselfish and move the ball really well. I thought at times we executed very well tonight, but they just hit one tough shot after another. Games like this show you the things you have to improve, and we will get back to work and take it one day at a time.”
Arkansas shot 53.5 percent on the night, including 55.6 percent in a 56-point first half. The Bison shot 53.8 percent in the opening half 44.8 percent for the game.
Kimbal Mackenzie hit a 3-pointer on the game’s first possession, and there would be five lead changes over the next three minutes before Arkansas started to take control with a 17-3 run. C.J. Jones hit a jumper that made it 24-11, but the Bison got back in it with a 10-4 run over the next four minutes.
Thomas and Nate Jones sparked the run with 3-pointers, both on kick-out passes from Brown. A Thomas free throw with 7:20 left in the half brought Bucknell within 28-22. But the Razorbacks would score 28 more points over the final 7:12 of the half.
Barford was the catalyst. He hit a step-back jumper from the baseline and then back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 40-24. A couple of put-backs and two transition layups stretched the lead up over 20 points for the first time, and Macon somehow got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to drop with Brown draped all over him, giving the Razorbacks a 56-34 edge at the break.
Both teams came out hot in the second half. Bucknell started 7-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from long range, but the Bison could not get enough stops to make a run. Arkansas hit nine of its first 12 to start the half, including a number of tough shots in the lane.
Bucknell got as close as 18 on a couple of occasions and it was a 21-point game with three minutes to go, before Arkansas finished on a 9-2 run with the reserves in the game.
Arkansas drew even at 1-1 in the all-time series. Bucknell defeated the Razorbacks 59-55 in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
Thomas’ performance was a nice follow-up to his 31-point, 16-rebound performance against Monmouth on Friday. He now has 55 points and 26 rebounds in two games. Thomas was 7-for-13 from the field and 5-for-7 from 3-point range, and he also had three assists and a blocked shot in the game.