FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Moses Kingsley learned a trick or two while practicing against former Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Bobby Portis over the past two seasons at Arkansas.
Kingsley certainly played like his former teammate Friday night, putting together an all-around career-best effort in an 86-68 win over Southern in the season opener for the Razorbacks (1-0).
The 6-foot-10 junior from Nigeria had a career-high 22 points, 12 rebounds, five blocked and three steals — earning his second career double-double in 24 minutes of foul-plagued action.
Not bad for a player whose previous career high was 12 points as a freshman and averaged only 3.6 points in 10.9 minutes per game a year ago.
Not bad at all.
“It was a privilege to play behind Bobby,” Kingsley said. “... I just tried to keep up with him and stuff like that, and all that stuff has helped me today and is going to continue helping me the rest of my basketball career.”
Kingsley’s outburst came at exactly the right time for an Arkansas team desperate to identify playmakers after it lost six of its top seven scorers from last season’s SEC runner-up.
And his performance highlighted a solid overall effort for the Razorbacks, who finished 8 of 15 from behind the arc — with junior Dusty Hannahs leading the way with five 3-pointers on his way to 21 points.
Anthlon Bell added 14 points for Arkansas, which is now 5-0 in season openers under coach Mike Anderson.
Christopher Hyder led the Jaguars (0-1), who were 18-17 last season and 13-5 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, with 22 points.
Adrian Rodgers added 12 points and Chris Thomas 11 for Southern.
Arkansas led by as many as 20 points early in the second half, but Southern cut the lead to 62-56 when Rodgers capped a 9-0 run with his second 3-pointer of the game.
Kingsley took command from there, scoring six straight points at one point as the Razorbacks went on a 14-3 run to take a 76-59 lead and put the game out of reach. He also added an emphatic two-handed dunk that put Arkansas up 80-61 late in the game.
“The Razorbacks lost a lot of guys, but their tradition and style of play is still pretty tough to play against,” Southern coach Roman Banks said. “You can’t keep climbing a mountain and falling down against these guys, because they ultimately just wear you down.”
Hyder finished 8 of 12 from the field and added five rebounds, five steals and a team-high four assists for the Jaguars, who were outrebounded 43-28 — allowing 17 offensive rebounds by Arkansas.
Southern plays at Mississippi State on Monday.