FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sophomore Rotnei Clarke scored 16 points and freshman Marshawn Powell posted his second double-double in as many collegiate games, but it was not enough to lead the Arkansas Razorback men’s basketball team at the Hall of Fame Showcase in St. Louis, Mo., on Tuesday night as Arkansas fell to No. 20 Louisville, 96-66.
The Arkansas loss drops its record to 1-1 on the year while Louisville (1-0) wins its first game of the season.
"I thought that we did some good things," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. Just not enough of them. Louisville played tremendous tonight. Coach’s [Pitino] team did a great job of spreading the floor and putting the heat on. I thought that we were in good shape with about 3:45 left in the first half and then they went on a run. They played very well offensively."
The Razorbacks and Cardinals played even through the 6:32 mark of the first half, but a late surge by the deeper Louisville squad allowed the Cardinals to take a 17-point lead at the break. Arkansas was led by Clarke who scored eight points at the break, but the Razorbacks’ sharpshooter hit just one of two three-point baskets as the Cardinals hounded him at every opportunity. With their long-range game hampered, Arkansas resorted to distributing the ball around the court and all five Razorback starters scored points in the opening half with four of the five hitting for at least six.
Down at halftime, Arkansas came storming back to open the final 20 minutes by scoring the first 14 points of the half and pulling within three of the Cardinals. Clarke scored the first five points on a three pointer and layup and was followed by layups from Mike Washington and Marshawn Powell as well as free throws from several players. A 48-45 game with 15:36 to play, Louisville scored its first points of the second half at the 15:19 mark on a layup by Reginald Delk. The easy two by Delk started an 8-0 run that ballooned to 20-5 by the midway point in the half as Louisville found its stroke.
For the game Arkansas shot 39 percent from the floor while the Cardinals improved their percentage nearly 10 points from the first to second half to end at 46 percent. Clarke buried three three-point baskets on way to his team high 16 points while Powell scored 15 points and grabbed 11 a game-high 11 rebounds in the loss. Freshman Julysses Nobles and junior Jemal Farmer each scored nine points. Nobles’ output was a career high.
Pelphrey gave high praise to the play of Nobles who also ended the contest with seven assists and just two turnovers against a high pressure defense. The Jackson, Miss., native also grabbed four steals.
"Julysses responded tremendously," Pelphrey said. He played all 40 minutes and never came out of the game. I was really proud of him."
Louisville played 13 players in the contest and six reached double figures. Delk led all scorers with 20 points and was joined by Samardo Samuels (17), Jerry Smith (14), Edgar Sosa (12), Preston Knowles (11) and Jared Swopshire (10).
The Razorbacks are back in action on Friday night, Nov. 20, when they take on Appalachian St., at ud Walton Arena at 7 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback men’s basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.