FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Mason Jones scored 18 points and Arkansas beat Montana State 90-68 on Wednesday night in the Hardwood Series for its third straight win.
Jones, whose key rebound and free throw with 2.5 seconds left on Sunday lifted the Razorbacks to a 73-72 win against Indiana, scored the first seven points against Montana State and ignited a fast start that saw the Razorbacks (3-1) lead 32-7 midway through the first half.
Jones hit three of his five 3-pointers in the early going against the outmanned Bobcats (1-5). Daniel Gafford, coming off a career-high 27 points against Indiana to earn SEC player of the week honors, scored 16 points on a school record-tying 8 of 8 from the floor, most coming on assists from Jalen Harris, who had 11 points and 11 assists. Five Arkansas players reached double figures.
Montana State fell behind quickly, but senior guard Tyler Hall did his part to keep the score respectable at 54-38 at halftime by scoring 23 points, including seven 3-pointers. Hall finished with 29 points.
Arkansas opened the second half with an 18-7 run to build a 72-45 lead on back-to-back inside buckets from Adrio Bailey.
Montana State had trouble with the Razorbacks' swarming press that recorded 13 steals and forced 24 Bobcats' turnovers. The defensive pressure led to 29 points for Arkansas.
Arkansas' schedule sets up favorably over the next eight games — six of them at home in Fayetteville and one in North Little Rock — for the Razorbacks to head into SEC play at 10-1.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks play host to Texas-Arlington on Friday, its third game in six days. It will be the third game of the four-game Hardwood Showcase. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Montana State: The Bobcats will be on the road at Omaha on Saturday, its fourth straight road game.