FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ronnie Brewer was better than the entire Hartford team through the first 25 minutes and Arkansas rolled to its 10th win in 11 games with an 87-55 victory on Thursday.
Arkansas has 10 wins before Christmas for the first time ever and turned in another solid effort on both ends of the floor.
The Razorbacks topped the 50 percent mark in shooting for the fifth time this season (.577, 30-52) and held their opponent below 40 percent for the seventh time (.346, 18-52). UA hit 15-of-26 shots in each half.
The Hogs were even hotter from three-point range, hitting 13-of-20 treys for a percentage of .650, which is the third-best single-game effort in school history. Arkansas has now recorded three of the top four three-point shooting games in school history this season. UA hit eight-of-12 against Prairie View A&M to tie the school mark of .667. In the season-opener against Winthrop, UA made 11-of-17 for a percentage of .647, which is the fourth-best mark.
“It was a great team effort and we played extremely well,” head coach Stan Heath said. “I thought Ronnie and Eric (Ferguson) played outstanding. They were hitting the open shots and Jonathon did very well in the paint.”
Ferguson had a huge first half as the Razorbacks jumped to a 45-18 lead at the break. He made four-of-six shots, including three-of-five threes, and had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals with no turnovers in 14 minutes. He added six points, two rebounds and two assists in the second period to finish with 17 points, seven boards and six assists.
For the game, Brewer had 23 points in 23 minutes. He made nine-of-12 shots, including three-of-four threes, and added five rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
With 15:47 left in the game, he made a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Ferguson to give Arkansas a 62-21 lead. At that point, he had 22 points in the game while Hartford had managed just 21.
The Hawks (2-5) later went on a 17-7 run to cut a 67-30 deficit to 74-47, but Brewer made a free throw, Ferguson a three-pointer and Steven Hill two free throws to push the lead to 80-47 with 4:51 remaining.
Arkansas led just 13-10 seven minutes into the game before Ferguson scored eight straight Razorback points to put the Hogs ahead 21-12 at the 10:20 mark.
David Ruffin hit an eight-footer to pull Hartford within 29-16 with 4:25 left, but Arkansas scored the next 16 points, six by Brewer, before Trevor Goode closed the period with a dunk to end the run and make it 45-18 at the half.
“I felt our first-half performance was excellent, but we let down in the second half,” Heath said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game the second half. We are playing good basketball, but we need to make some corrections and adjustments.”
Modica had his second straight big game, hitting five-of-nine shots for 17 points. Darian Townes had 11 points on four-of-six shooting, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Charles Thomas had seven points, and Hill six points, six rebounds, one blocked shot and four steals.
Aaron Cook led Hartford with nine points.
UA is off until Dec. 29 when the Razorbacks play host to Jacksonville State at 7:05 p.m. in a game televised by ARSN.