SAN JAUN, Puerto Rico – Two days and a few practices after turning the ball over 32 times in a loss to Providence, No. 18 Arkansas committed just 17 against Virginia Commonwealth’s press as the Razorbacks closed the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off with a 70-60 victory on Sunday.
The Razorbacks had more turnovers in the first half against Providence (18) than they did for the game against VCU.
While protecting the ball, the Hogs still played tough defense, limiting the Rams to 33.3 percent shooting and posting a 41-28 rebounding advantage. Arkansas shot 46 percent in the first half and 54 in the second to finish at 50 for the game.
Arkansas trailed 5-4 early, but baskets by Steven Hill, Patrick Beverley, Michael Washington and Sonny Weems put the Hogs up 13-7. After a VCU free throw, the Razorbacks went on an 11-1 run to take a 24-9 lead with 7:59 left in the first half.
The Rams cut the margin to 28-22, but Weems and Beverley made two free throws each and Vincent Hunter closed the half with two free throws for a 34-24 Hog lead.
VCU cut the margin to five once and six three other times in the second half, but Darian Townes turned back the first run with two straight dunks. Weems, Stefan Welsh and Gary Ervin combined for seven straight after the second run, Ervin scored after the third one and Beverley made two free throws following the fourth. Beverley’s free throws gave Arkansas a 63-55 advantage with 2:26 remaining.
A Townes layup pushed the lead to 65-56 with 1:36 to go and Ervin clinched it with three free throws and a putback in the final 46 seconds.
Weems paced the Hogs with 16 points and eight rebounds, and was 7-of-12 shooting. Beverley had 13 points and six rebounds, Ervin 12 points and five rebounds, and Townes 10 points, seven boards and two blocked shots.
Michael Anderson led VCU with 16 points. Eric Maynor and Jamal Shuler scored 12 each.
The Razorbacks play host to Delaware State on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. in a non-televised game.