Mason Jones scored 32 points to lead Arkansas to a 91-43 rout of Rice on Tuesday night in Fayetteville, Ark., in Eric Musselman’s first game as Razorbacks coach.
Arkansas, picked to finish 11th in the SEC preseason media poll, won its 45th straight home opener. Musselman easily earned his first win in the Southeastern Conference thanks to some sharp shooting and tenacious defense.
Jones, who averaged 13.6 points last season as a sophomore, went 12 of 18 from the field, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. He pulled down seven rebounds and had five steals.
Isaiah Joe, a preseason All-SEC pick, added 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Jalen Harris added 10 points and three steals off the bench for Arkansas.
Ako Adams was the only Owls players to reach double-figure scoring with 13 points.
Jones set the tone early, connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers. Adams also hit a trey to put Rice up momentarily, 8-6.
Jones hit another 3 to give Arkansas the lead for good.
Adrio Bailey’s layup gave the Razorbacks a double-digit lead at 20-10, and Arkansas was off and running.
Jones scored 17 first-half points as the Razorbacks raced to a 39-19 lead at intermission.
Arkansas continued the onslaught early in the second half with Joe leading the way. He sank three 3-pointers to help Arkansas build a 56-25 lead just five minutes after intermission.
The Razorbacks’ lead grew to 73-32 when Joe connected on another 3-point jumper with 8:31 left in the game.
Arkansas made 10-of-25 3-point attempts. The Owls went 2 of 25 from long distance. The Razorbacks’ defense held Rice to just 28.6 percent shooting overall.
—Field Level Media