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Hogs bury Mercer Bears in season opener

Arkansas started the 2021-2022 season with a win over the Mercer Bears.
Credit: Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On Tuesday night, Nov. 9, the Arkansas men's basketball team opened the season with a win over Mercer. The Razorbacks are now 29-0 all-time in Bud Walton Arena home openers. 

It was the Hogs game since the 2021 Elite Eight. The Razorbacks had eleven players who were putting on the Arkansas jersey for the first time. 

The first Arkansas points of the season came off a JD Notae three. Notae had eight of the team's first 12 points. 

With 9:42 to play in the first half, Arkansas had a 19-17 lead. The Bears were hanging in the game despite the Hogs shooting 44% from the field. Mercer began the game shooting 7-12 from three. 

The Bears took their biggest lead of the night with 2:47 to play in the half. Arkansas trailed 34-24 and hadn't scored in over four minutes. The Razorbacks were shooting just 38% and had only five assists. 

Notae was keeping Arkansas in the game by himself. The senior guard had 15 points, Au'Diese Toney followed with ten. 

Notae would come out of the locker room and continue to dominate. Ten more points on his night once again gave Arkansas a lead. The Hogs were up to 48% shooting and had a 51-49 lead.

The Bear's hot three-point percentage wouldn't go anywhere either. Mercer was 19-39 from beyond the arc to stay in the game. 

Toney was far and away from the Hog's second-best player on the night. The senior was up to 16 points on 6-7 shooting. Chris Lykes would put the Hogs back on top, 56-54 with under nine minutes remaining. 

The Razorback defense held Mercer scoreless for over a three-minute period, while Notae tied his career-high with 27 points.

Toney would put Arkansas up 66-57 with 2:59 to play. He was up to 18 points and ten rebounds in his first game with the Hogs. 

The Hogs 16-3 run would put the game away, knocking off Mercer 74-61. 

Lykes finished with 14 points in his Razorback debut, Notae had 30. 

Arkansas will next be in action Saturday when they host Gardner-Webb at 2 p.m.

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