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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas guard Anton Beard drives around South Carolina's Justin Minaya during a game Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Fayetteville. - Photo by J.T. Wampler

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks guard Anton Beard said Thursday he's feeling 100 percent healthy after playing through an injured right ankle the last four weeks.

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Beard injured his ankle at Florida on Jan. 17. He has continued to stay in the starting lineup, but at times had limped or grimaced.

In the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's 75-64 victory at Ole Miss on Tuesday night, Beard had 13 points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal with 1 turnover in 30 minutes.

"I'm feeling a lot better," Beard said. "I'm just getting better day by day."

Beard hit 5 of 10 shots against the Rebels, including 3 of 4 three-pointers. It was his highest-scoring SEC game and most points since he had 15 against California State University, Bakersfield on Dec. 27.

"Anton had a great game for us," Razorbacks senior guard Jaylen Barford said. "He hit a lot of big shots, made a lot of big plays.

"He's been a little injured, so it's good to have him back. He looked like he was moving pretty good."

Coach Mike Anderson said the Razorbacks need Beard -- who has played 120 games at Arkansas -- to be a team leader.

"He's got to be a little general out on the floor," Anderson said. "He's got to get guys in the right spot and talk to them, and calm our guys down and pump them up.

"Knock down open shots when he gets them. He's got to provide that grit. He's been through the wars and this time of year you have got to have somebody out on that floor that can get you into things.

"I think he's back in the groove, so to speak. And I think that's big for our basketball team."

Bailey practices

Sophomore forward Adrio Bailey, who has missed the last two games because of the flu, practiced on Thursday. He might be ready to play against Texas A&M on Saturday, but Coach Mike Anderson said Bailey needs to regain some strength.

"I tell you what, that bug went through him pretty good," Anderson said. "He lost a little weight. So we'll see how he can produce in practice here the next couple of days."

Mr. Efficient

Daniel Gafford had what read like a full game for Arkansas in what amounted to a half against Ole Miss.

Gafford, a 6-11 freshman, had 19 points and 6 rebounds in 20 minutes. The previous game when Arkansas beat Vanderbilt 72-54, Gafford had 16 points, 9 rebounds and 7 blocked shots in 24 minutes.

"Daniel, when you look at him, less minutes is probably more productivity for him," Coach Mike Anderson said. "So to me, that proves a point right there in terms of all the minutes that guys play. When you go out and you're efficient with what you do."

Gafford is averaging 11.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in 21.1 minutes in all games. In 13 SEC games, he's averaging 11.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 24.2 minutes.

Good sign

Arkansas won at Ole Miss after leading 34-23 at halftime. It was the 35th consecutive game the Razorbacks have won when they were ahead after the first half.

Arkansas is 120-7 under Coach Mike Anderson when leading at halftime.

Sports on 02/16/2018

Print Headline: Beard: I'm just better day by day

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