FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Darian Townes scored 19 points and Charles Thomas added 16 as Arkansas overcame a three-point halftime deficit to hold off Missouri-Kansas City, 71-61, Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks out-rebounded the Kangaroos, 41-19, including getting eight boards apiece from Townes, Thomas and point guard Gary Ervin.
Arkansas improves to 6-1 on the season while UMKC falls to 3-5.
UMKC cut the Razorback lead to three, 49-46, with just under 10 minutes left to play, but Arkansas went on an 8-2 run to take an eight point lead, 57-48, at the six-minute mark. Townes, who was eight-of-13 shooting, paced the Hog run with a pair of inside buckets.
The Kangaroos refused to go quietly, again chipping away at the Razorback lead and drawing within four, 59-55, with just under three minutes left. Arkansas responded, as Ervin made a running jumper in the lane, a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to give Arkansas its largest lead, 66-55, with just over a minute remaining.
After trailing 31-28 at the half, a Patrick Beverley layup with 18:59 in the second half gave Arkansas the lead for good, 32-31. It was the Hogs’ first lead since 6-4 with 16:15 left in the first half.
The Razorbacks went up 49-41 with 9:30 left on a Preston Cranford three-point jumper. It was Cranford’s second three-point basket of the game, giving him a career-high six points.
Townes led all scorers with 19 points, a season-high. The 6-10 junior added eight rebounds and a blocked shot. Thomas matched his season high with 16 points, and was a perfect six-of-six from the free-throw line.
Ervin contributed 12 points to go along with his eight rebounds. Ervin also dished out five assists while committing just one turnover. Beverley added nine points, six rebounds and six assists.
Cranford dropped in six points, a career high for the junior from Heber Springs. Cranford also grabbed a career-high three rebounds. McCurdy made his first start of the season and set a season-high and matched a career-high with six points.
Quinton Day, who came into Saturday’s game averaging 21.9 points, led UMKC with 14 points, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, but he was just five-of-11 overall. Dominique Johnson added 11 points and six assists while Brent Stephens had 10 points.
Arkansas came out of the gates sluggish. UMKC built a 20-9 lead with 11:21 left in the first half on a Tim Blackwell three-pointer. Blackwell and Day each buried a pair of threes during a 16-3 Kangaroo run over a 7:21 span in the first half to give UMKC the edge.
During the first 12 minutes, the Razorbacks committed eight turnovers, and finished the half with 10 turnovers.
The Hogs closed the half on a 19-11 run to set the halftime margin at 31-28 in favor of the Kangaroos. During the run, UA cut the lead to one three times. The run was sparked by a breakaway dunk by the 6-1 Beverley. The Hogs were six-of-seven from the free-throw line during the stretch, including two from McCurdy, whose five first half points eclipsed his season-high of two against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 10.
The Razorbacks return to action Tuesday, Dec. 5, when they play host to Central Michigan in a game televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. Tip is set for 7:05 at Bud Walton Arena.
Download: umkc box.pdf