Hogs Roll in Johnson’s Debut
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman Joe Johnson scored 16 points in his collegiate debut and freshman Carl Baker posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arkansas to a 102-59 win over Alcorn State at Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday night.
The Razorbacks (7-4) hit the Braves (5-6) with a 14-3 run from the opening tip to take control of a game that the visitor’s would never lead. Arkansas forced a season-high 36 Alcorn State turnovers which led to 50 Razorback points.
“We have been working on our matchup traps in practice,” Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson said. “We did an excellent job of forcing some turnovers. When you add a guy like Johnson and put in a guy like Gomez that can play some defense it makes a big difference. We had three 6-9 guys on the floor. That type of defense works better with those types of players.”
Johnson led all scorers by hitting seven of 12 from the field including two three-pointers. The Little Rock, Ark. native started his first game in a Razorback uniform after gaining his eligibility late last week. Johnson also earned six steals and five assists.
Baker nailed seven of 11 shots from the field and pulled down a team-leading 10 rebounds. Senior Chris Walker earned 14 points while Teddy Gipson tallied 11 points.
“I was really proud of the way Joe and Carl played,” Arkansas head coach Nolan Richardson said. “Joe is a big-time player. He reminds me a lot of Paul Pressey. When he is on the floor he makes everyone around him better. I think Carl is really coming along as a player. With those two young players we are going to have a great future.”
Alcorn State’s Marcus Fleming recorded a double-double of his own with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Wallace Harris chipped in 13 points for the Braves in the losing cause.
Arkansas travels to North Little Rock, Ark. for a game vs. Centenary on Thursday. The 8:05 p.m. game will be played at Alltel Arena and will be televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network.
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