FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas climbed to the .500 mark with its third straight victory on Saturday, 70-60, over Southwest Texas State.
Arkansas (4-4) once again controlled the boards and had a great day at the free throw line. UA had a 41-28 rebounding edge with an 18-11 scoring advantage off second-chance points.
The Razorbacks had 14 offensive rebounds after entering the game averaging a Southeastern Conference best 17.29 per game. The Razorbacks went to the free throw line 33 times and made 25 shots, the second-best totals of the year in each category to the 27-of-48 performance against Jackson State in the opener. UA’s .758 percentage was also its second-best effort of the year, to the .769 percentage (10-13) against Louisiana Tech.
“I’m really proud of the effort our guys gave,” head coach Stan Heath said. “At times it was ugly, but it was a win. What I really liked is that they grinded out a win.”
Dionisio Gomez, who had 16 points and eight rebounds, set career highs with eight free throws made in nine attempts. Eric Ferguson was seven of eight and Kendrick Davis four of five.
Davis finished with a game-high 22 points on seven of 16 shooting.
UA forced 13 turnovers in the first half and lost the ball just five times in taking a 36-23 lead at the break. The Razorbacks quickly pushed the lead to 17, 40-23, on a dunk by Jonathon Modica, but Arkansas had 13 turnovers in the second period while SWT had just four, and the Bobcats (5-2) cut the margin to five, 54-49, with 5:50 to play.
Davis hit a jumper and Gomez made two free throws to push the lead back to nine. Southwest Texas, which was led by Terry Conerway’s 22 points, cut the deficit to 67-60 with 28 seconds remaining, but Ferguson and Rashard Sullivan combined to hit three of four free throws in the final 26 seconds.
Ferguson finished with 14 points, five rebounds, a season-high seven assists and two steals with six turnovers. Modica added eight points on four of five shooting. Carl Baker added a season-high eight rebounds along with four points and two blocked shots.
David Sykes added 19 points for Southwest Texas.
Arkansas shot 38.5 percent for the game while holding the Bobcats to 36.8 percent.
The Razorbacks are off for a week until playing host to Centenary on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game televised by ARSN.