FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas gradually pulled away from Maine in the first half and was never challenged in the second half as the Razorbacks won their season opener Monday at Bud Walton Arena, 64-47, to advance to the second round of the preseason NIT.
Arkansas will play host to Wake Forest Friday in a game televised by ESPN. Game time will be either 6 or 7 p.m. The Demon Deacons beat North Carolina-Wilmington at home Monday, 79-78.
UA forced Maine into 29 turnovers and held the Black Bears to 35 percent shooting. Arkansas shot only 36.5 percent, but the Razorbacks took 26 more shots than Maine, making 10 more. UA scored 39 points off UM’s 29 turnovers.
“From a defensive standpoint, I was really proud of our guys tonight,” head coach Nolan Richardson said. “Our guards controlled their guards. If we continue to do that, we can rotate fresh guards and win some big games.”
Eleven Razorbacks played at least 12 minutes and 11 different Hogs scored. Teddy Gipson hit seven of 10 shots to lead Arkansas with 15 points. Jannero Pargo and J.J. Sullinger scored 10 each. Dionisio Gomez added six points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Maine led 13-11 early, but Sullinger had five points in a 10-0 run and the Black Bears never got closer.
Arkansas led 36-21 at the break and scored nine of the first 11 points in the second half to push the advantage to 45-23 with 18:08 to play. The Razorbacks stretched the lead to 25 twice, 54-29 and 58-33.
Errick Greene led Maine with 16 points while Clayton Brown had 13, but each turned the ball over seven times.