FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ big men consisting of senior Delvon Johnson, sophomore Glenn Bryant, and sophomore Marshawn Powell combined for nearly half of the Razorbacks point total to lead them to an 87-64 victory over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils on Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Not only did the Hogs get a good offensive performance from those three, but they also got a great rebounding game from Bryant (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Johnson (15 points, 10 rebounds), who each had a double-double.
“We’re very happy to win this one,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “Mississippi Valley State’s record is not indicative of their team. They played very well for the first 20 minutes, but we were able to come out and defend in the second half. I was very disappointed in the first half with our transition defense, but I thought our communication was better in the second half.”
The Razorbacks didn’t get out to quite the solid start they were looking for against the Delta Devils. The team from Itta Bena, Miss. started the game on a 9-3 run, but the Hogs were able to get their big man, senior Delvon Johnson involved enough to cut the deficit to 10-7 by the first media timeout. Johnson had four of those seven points.
The Hogs actually got their first lead of the game after a jumper by Marshawn Powell to make it 12-10 at the 14:26 mark, but the real story of the first half was the amount of fouls each team was able to accumulate in just a short amount of time. Just five minutes into the game, MVSU had already put Arkansas in the bonus with six fouls. Arkansas was not much better, drawing five fouls by the midway point of the first half. They were, however, able to clean it up for the latter part of the half and draw only one more for the rest of the time. MVSU finished the half with 13 fouls altogether.
Both teams never could gain any momentum throughout the first half as the largest lead for either team never got larger than seven. That seven point lead was seen by the Hogs in the final minute of the half after a layup by freshman Marvell Waithe, but the Delta Devils cut it down to five at the break, 43-38 Razorback lead.
The Hogs and the Delta Devils shot fairly well from the field in the first half, the Hogs were shooting 41 percent, while MVSU made over half of their shots at 52 percent. Delvon Johnson also continued his block party start to the season with three blocks in the first half to go along with 13 points and eight rebounds, good for tops on the team.
Arkansas would end the first half on a 13-6 run over the final four minutes and actually carry that run at the beginning of the second half to go a combined 21-8 that lasted 9:19 on the game clock. After a couple of threes by junior Jeff Peterson and sophomore Julysses Nobles, Arkansas would have their lead out to 12.
The Hogs continued their strong play throughout the rest of the half not only on the offensive side, but also defensively holding the Delta Devils to only 23 percent shooting from the field at 7-for-21.
Arkansas would make their lead grow to even larger proportions as the game went on. The team found themselves up by as much as 23 at the end of the game and that lead never dropped below 12 for the entire half.
Bud Walton probably heard its’ biggest roar of the night when redshirt freshman Kikko Haydar came off the bench in the final two minutes and sank a three pointer, his first points of the season. That three would practically be the nail in the coffin to give the Razorbacks the win.
The Razorback men’s basketball team will hit the court once again this Saturday when they take on Texas A&M in Dallas, Texas., with the tip scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2. The team will then return to Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday December 22 to face Texas Southern. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For all information concerning the men’s basketball team, be sure to log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.