AUBURN, Ala. — University of Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said the first team to 60 points was likely to win Thursday’s Southeastern Conference game at Auburn and he was right.
Arkansas (10-14, 2-9 SEC) took a 60-48 lead with 6:26 to play and went on to its second league win, 73-58, over Auburn (12-13, 3-9 SEC).
“I thought this was just a terrific job,” Collen said. “I didn’t think we came out with a lot of energy and I was a bit worried but we got it done.”
Arkansas shot a season-best 50.8 percent going 31-for-61 from the floor in a solid, methodical win at Auburn. The victory snaps a five-game losing streak to the Tigers.
“We stayed aggressive with the lead — it was nice to play with the lead for a change,” Collen said. “The team is awfully excited and it’s a great springboard going into South Carolina.”
Senior Charity Ford led all scorers with 18 points. Sophomores Ashley Daniels and C’eira Ricketts added 14 each while sophomore Lyndsay Harris finished with 11 points.
The first half was a success for the Razorbacks. Arkansas was 15-for-27 shooting 55.6 percent led by nine points from Ford. The Razorbacks tied the game at 13 and was able hold on to the lead using a better fast break and taking advantage of 10 Tiger turnovers.
Freshman Quistelle Williams had six points and five rebounds and Daniels added five points for Arkansas in the first period. Williams finished the night with eight points and eight boards.
The Razorbacks managed 18 points in the paint against the six-foot-seven-inch KeKe Carrier but were out-rebounded 20-11 in the first half.
Arkansas led by as many as nine three times late in the first half but Auburn hit a couple of two’s down the stretch to close within five, 35-30, at the break.
The Razorbacks started the second half where they left off in the first frame and grew the lead to 10, 42-32. It was a double-digit margin that the Razorbacks were able to maintain much of the second half.
Auburn shot a solid 42.4 percent for the game but struggled from three-point range on a 4-of-16 night and was just 4-for-7 from the line. The Tigers had a significant rebounding advantage, 40-27, but Arkansas out-scored Auburn in the pain 38-26 and scored 22 points off of 20 Tiger turnovers.
““I thought we played really well tonight,” said Ford. “I thought we executed really well. We just settled down and ran our offense and played good defense. I just think we did really good today.
We played with a lot of intensity,” Ford continued. “I think we just kept pushing at them. Coach (Tom Collen) always tells us to keep pushing the ball. I think that’s what we were trying to do, just keep pushing them and we saw that they were getting a little fatigued.”
“I think we played well,” added Ricketts. “We came together and we knew we had to get this win because we were tired of losing. We played hard and got the win.”
Arkansas continues its long road trip traveling to South Carolina (13-10, 6-5 SEC) for a Sunday afternoon game in a game that is televised by ESPN2.
“We taking a lot of confidence away from this win tonight,” Ford said. “I think it did boost our confidence with this win. We’ll take that into our next game, and I think everyone is excited. We’re just going to bring that intensity that we had today and keep it going.”