Kingsley's double-double leads Arkansas past North Florida
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Moses Kingsley's talent and overall athleticism were never in question, even while he served a two-season apprenticeship under Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Bobby Portis.
Kingsley has shown consistency, which is also one of his strong suits in his first season while taking over Arkansas' leading role from Portis, finishing with his seventh double-double of the season in a 97-72 win over North Florida on Tuesday night.
The junior led the Razorbacks (6-5) with 22 points and 10 rebounds, adding five blocks for good measure. Already averaging a double-double, Kingsley's seven this season have come in 11 games - well above the one combined such effort he had in the previous two seasons combined.
''I've been working on finishing in the last couple of days,'' Kingsley said. ''That's what I tried to do today, and I feel like I'm getting better at it, finishing around the rim, because the team needs me to do that more.''
Anthlon Bell had 20 points for Arkansas, which was coming off a disappointing loss to Mercer on Saturday night and has now won three of four games.
Anton Beard added 13 points in his second game back following a semester-long suspension after a summer arrest on forgery charges.
Beard and Manuale Watkins, who had 11 points, each finished 5 of 8 from the field for the Razorbacks, who shot 53.2 percent (42 of 79) and outrebounded the Ospreys 52-28 - including 21 offensive rebounds.
''Our guys did a good job of attacking the basket, getting the ball inside,'' Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ''We took advantage of what we had, and that was a size advantage.''
Dallas Moore led North Florida (10-5) with 17 points and seven assists, while Trent Mackey had 16 points and hit 5 of 10 3-pointers.
North Florida entered the game as the top 3-point shooting team in the country, averaging 13.1 makes from behind the arc per game - and it showed early.
Six of the Ospreys first eight field goal attempts were 3-pointers, as were 15 of their 30 first-half field goal attempts. However, they only made five of those shots from long range and trailed 49-41 at halftime, thanks in large part to Arkansas' overwhelming size advantage.
The Razorbacks outrebounded North Florida 27-14 in the first half, and the 6-foot-10 Kingsley helped Arkansas score 40 of its 49 first-half points inside the paint. Kingsley, who had a career-high eight blocks in the Razorbacks last home game, finished the first half with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Kingsley was 6 of 11 from the field in the first half, finishing 11 of 17 for the game, and Arkansas shot 55.6 percent (22 of 42) while never trailing and leading by as many as 13 points.
''Moses was as good as he's been,'' North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said. ''He got the ball down on the block, and he didn't mess around. He just scored it.''
The Razorbacks never trailed, and they never led by fewer than nine points in the second half.
Beard, an All-Southeastern Conference freshman selection a year ago, scored nine of his points in the second half - adding three assists in 17 minutes off the bench.
North Florida: Mackey's five 3-pointers led the Ospreys, who finished 10 of 27 (37 percent) from behind the arc. They entered the game hitting 44.6 percent of their 3-pointers and averaging 29.5 attempts per game.
Arkansas: Led by Kingsley, the Razorbacks outscored North Florida 60-20 in the paint. Arkansas also had a season-high 27 assists on its 42 field goals, with Jabril Durham leading the way with seven.
Arkansas forward Keaton Miles suffered a hard fall under the basket in the second half and left the game with what Anderson called a sprained left knee. The senior had seven points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
North Florida is at Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 30.
Arkansas is at Dayton on Dec. 30.