ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — Arkansas didn’t shoot threes like it did in its season-opener, but the Razorbacks played defense just as well and wore down Troy in cruising to an 89-54 victory in the Paradise Jam on Sunday.
The win sends the Razorbacks (2-0) into the championship game at 7 p.m. on Monday. UA faces Eastern Michigan, the alma mater of UA head coach Stan Heath. EMU won its pool with wins over Austin Peay, 73-59, and Saint Louis, 61-58.
In Friday’s win over Winthrop, Arkansas shot 53.3 percent from the floor, including the school’s second-best three-point percentage of .647 (11-17) while holding the Eagles to 27.8 percent shooting (15-54). In Sunday’s win, UA shot 47.7 percent (31-65), including just seven-of-20 on threes (.350), but held the Trojans to 29.4 percent shooting (20-68), including just 16.7 percent on threes (5-30). Troy made just one-of-12 threes in the second half and only six-of-27 shots overall (.222) in the second period.
Arkansas outscored the Trojans 44-16 in the second period to runaway with the victory.
The Hogs jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and led 30-19 with 8:41 left in the first period on a dunk by Steven Hill. Troy went on a 16-2 run over the next four minutes and took a 35-32 lead on a tipin by Richard Damus and a layup by Bobby Dixon.
Rashard Sullivan made a tipin for Arkansas, Charles Thomas made a layup and Ronnie Brewer two free throws to put Arkansas up for good. Brewer followed with a three for a five-point margin and two free throws by Michael Jones with 37 seconds left in the half gave the Hogs a 45-38 lead at the break.
The Trojans got within 47-42 early in the second period, but Olu Famutimi converted a three-point play and Eric Ferguson started a 17-0 run by scoring six consecutive points for a 67-44 lead with 10:34 remaining.
Brewer scored a game-high 18 points and added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Jonathon Modica had 14 points, four rebounds and five steals. Dontell Jefferson had 12 points on four-of-six shooting; Famutimi had 11 points and five rebounds; and Ferguson 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The five steals for Modica are a career high and tie the Paradise Jam single-game record. He has six in two games, just two off the tournament record. Hill had four blocks, along with two points and three rebounds, and has eight rejections in the tournament, which matches the tournament record.
Arkansas had a 48-38 rebounding edge, including a 25-12 margin in the second half. UA also had 18 turnovers but Troy had 20, breaking a streak of 39 games in which the Trojans recorded fewer turnovers than their opponent.
Troy, which lost to Winthrop, 89-80, on Saturday, was led by Eddie Baker with 12 points. Dixon and Damus scored 10 each.