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Balanced effort lifts Razorbacks

Balanced effort lifts Razorbacks

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CANCUN, Mexico — Four players in double figures and a balanced, confident defensive effort were the keys to the game in Arkansas’ 69-51 win over Western Kentucky at the Caribbean Challenge Friday in Cancun, Mexico.

Arkansas (4-1) put together a complete-game win leading WKU (3-2) by as many as 21 before the 18-point win.

“This is going to be a big win on our resumé,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “Western Kentucky is going to be a good team down the road somewhere. We grew up this week. We’re still not where we want to be but it’s early and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Arkansas was paced by senior Charity Ford who finished with 16 points and four rebounds. Sophomore Lyndsay Harris added 15 and freshman Dominique Robinson had 11 and a team-best seven rebounds. Sophomore C’eira Ricketts rounded out the double-figure scoring with 10. Harris and sophomore Ashley Daniels each had six rebounds in the win.

The teams opened the game with even efforts and the score remained close through the first 10 minutes of play. Arkansas took a two-point, 11-9, lead at the 13:13 mark of the first period on a 10-foot jumper from Daniels and that would begin the Razorback run.

Arkansas would go up 28-11 on a 19-2 run behind a seven-point effort from Ford. The lead would grow to as many as 19 in the first half before Arkansas went to the locker room up by 17, 36-19.

Arkansas was 13-for-27 in the first half with five threes and a 5-of-6 performance from the line. They held WKU to 23.3 percent shooting in the first half and no three-pointers.

The Razorbacks maintained the momentum early in the second but Western Kentucky’s Lashay Davis got hot from behind the arc and hit three consecutive three’s helping the Hilltoppers close within eight points, 52-44.

Davis finished with a game-high 19 points and was 5-of-8 from long distance.

“I knew they were going to come back on us,” Collen said. “They threw a small lineup at us and it gave us some trouble but I like the way we recovered.”

The Razorbacks remained composed and continued to play solid, unhurried basketball. Robinson was fouled and hit one of two from the line followed by a jumper from Harris and a layup from Ford as the Razorback lead increased to 14.

Ricketts was fouled on back-to-back Arkansas possessions and went 3-for-4 as Western Kentucky began sending Arkansas to the line in an effort to get the ball back.

Arkansas made just enough bonus shots to maintain the lead for the win. The Razorbacks finished the game 17-for-25 from the line for 68 percent. It was the team’s second-best free throw performance of the young season.

“I think we looked pretty poised for the game,” Collen said. “We didn’t get ahead of ourselves. This is a work in progress but I think we came a long way this week. We had to come back from an eight point deficit against Iona and played a very good team in Western Kentucky today.”

Arkansas hosts Kansas State in just the second game in Bud Walton Arena this year Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game are available at the Razorback Ticket Center and on-line.

Sports Category : Basketball (W)