FAYETTEVILLE — Behind a balanced team effort that saw 13 of 14 players put points on the board, the University of Arkansas basketball team defeated the Alcorn State Braves, 97-59, on Saturday night at Bud Walton Arena.
“First of all, it was good to get back on the hardwood after a week of being off for finals,” head men’s basketball coach mike Anderson said. “I thought we played well and had a good defensive effort.”
Junior forward Marshawn Powell had a standout day once again tallying 18 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes for his fourth consecutive double-digit scoring game and seventh of the season. Junior Coty Clarke also finished the night in double-figures after adding 14 points. Freshman Michael Qualls rounded out the Razorback double-digit scorers with 10 points, seven boards and four assists.
“Marshawn is shooting with confidence right now,” Anderson said. “That is one thing about our bigs, they can step out and make a shot. It then opens the lane for the rest of the team.”
The Razorbacks (5-4) put forth a tremendous defensive effort en route to the victory, forcing 24 Alcorn State turnovers and scoring 26 points off turnovers. The Razorbacks also finished with a season-high 10 blocks and a season-high 16 steals as Qualls, junior transfer Fred Gulley and freshman DeQuavious Wagner ended the game with three steals a piece. Arkansas also out-rebounded the Braves 47-33.
Alcorn State kept it close in the opening minutes, but a 10-0 run over 1:57 helped Arkansas pull away, 31-16. Clarke was responsible for the final five points spurt as the junior started a streak of his own with an open dunk only to draw a foul on the consecutive layup to make it a three-point basket. The Razorbacks would close the first half on a 22-3 run to go into the locker room with a 29-point halftime lead, 53-24.
Leading the Razorbacks in the first half was Powell who went 5-6 from the floor with two three-pointers, while tacking on five rebounds.
However it was a total team effort in the first half, as a total of 12 Razorbacks contributed points to the 53-24 halftime score. The Hogs out-rebounded the Braves 22-10, with 11 Razorbacks tallying a rebound. Arkansas also snagged 10 steals and forced 14 turnovers from the Braves, scoring 16 of their 53 points off Alcorn State turnovers.
With 11:06 on the clock Qualls laid down a monstrous block only to take it down the court and slam down a dunk to ignite the crowd and extend Arkansas’ lead to 76-37. Despite the large lead, Arkansas wasn’t slowing down as the Razorbacks continued their tough defensive effort and strong offensive push. With 3:31 remaining, Williams put up a block and picked up the subsequent defensive rebound that set up a three-point basket by Fred Gulley off an assist from junior Rickey Scott giving the Razorbacks their largest lead of the game at 42 points, 92-50.
The Hogs would close out the game with a 38-point margin of victory and a score of 97-59.
The Razorbacks will return to Bud Walton Arena this Thursday to take on Robert Morris on Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on RSN.