Macon scores 25 to lead Arkansas past Troy, 88-63
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Daryl Macon had one final chance to impress his friends and family in central Arkansas.
The Arkansas senior made sure to leave a lasting impression, scoring 25 points in an 88-63 win over Troy on Saturday night.
Macon hit five 3-pointers for the Razorbacks (8-2), who have now won three straight and are nearing their first ranking since the end of the 2014-15 season. He also finished 8 of 14 from the field while scoring his second highest total of the season, nearly matching the 27 points he had in a win over Oklahoma on Nov. 23.
The game marked Arkansas’ annual visit to central Arkansas, three hours away from its campus in Fayetteville. It was held in North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena, which is just across the Arkansas River from where Macon grew up in Little Rock.
The 6-foot-3 guard looked right at home, even if he wasn’t sure exactly how many of his friends and family were there to watch.
“I really have no idea (how many),” Macon said. “I looked up there and saw a bunch of them, and I guess they were my family. I don’t think I’ve met them yet.”
Macon was particularly impressive in the first half when Arkansas fell behind by as many as six points in the opening minutes. He scored eight straight points at one point, keying an 18-2 run that put the Razorbacks firmly in control. They shot 62 percent (18 of 29) in the first half and were never threatened in the second.
North Little Rock native Anton Beard also performed well in his final game in central Arkansas for the Razorbacks, scoring 11 points. Freshman Daniel Gafford added 10 points and three blocks in 24 minutes of action for Arkansas, which matched its Southeastern Conference-leading scoring average of 88.1 points per game.
Macon and Jaylen Barford each had five assists to lead the Razorbacks, who had assists on 19 of their 34 baskets in the game.
“Macon had a big night coming home, and you really enjoy seeing that take place,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “The thing I like about it is he did other things, too.”
Wesley Person scored 25 points to lead the Trojans (5-6), who lost by only eight points at No. 8 Kentucky earlier in the season.
Alex Hicks added 16 points and 10 rebounds, but Troy had no answers while playing its fourth straight game without injured forward Jordon Varnado — who is averaging 19 points per game.
″(Arkansas is) not a good team to play when you’re not at full strength, which we aren’t right now,” Troy coach Phil Cunningham said.
ALL SOLD OUT
Arkansas announced a sold-out crowd of 16,416, and it was treated to a performance that featured seven dunks among the highlights for the Razorbacks. The game is held annually during the holiday break while the students are away from campus in Fayetteville, but it felt like any game in Bud Walton Arena on Saturday night. “It’s crazy where you have two gyms that feel like home,” Beard said.
Troy: Person came Saturday averaging 20.3 points per game and having scored 20 or more points in five straight games. He continued that streak, but it wasn’t without a struggle at times for the senior — who finished 5 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 11 on 3-pointers.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks continued what’s been nothing short of season-long domination in their wins while earning the 25-point victory. They entered the game with an average margin of victory of 23 points in their first seven wins this season, and they topped that against the Trojans.
Troy is at Austin Peay on Tuesday.
The Razorbacks return home to face Oral Roberts on Tuesday night.
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