FAYETTEVILLE – A 29-3 scoring run to end the first half, along with five Razorback players scoring in double figures, propelled the Arkansas men’s basketball team over the century mark for the second straight game and giving them the 109-74 exhibition victory over Victory University at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday night.
“I thought our effort was good tonight, but theres more to be had,” said head coach John Pelphrey. “We continued to grow defensively and right now we’re looking at combinations. I felt at some point, we would settle in with our defense and when we changed presses, we got the right combination. I’m glad we have several days to practice before our next game and we need to get better, but I really liked our composure tonight.”
The Razorbacks didn’t get off to quite as quick a start as they did a week ago, as the Eagles jumped out to a 6-2 lead through the first two minutes. That lead, at one point, stretched to 11 for Victory after a three-pointer by Mike Davis with less than nine minutes to play in the opening half.
With 8:47 left to play in the half, the Hogs began to whittle away at the Eagle lead after a couple of lay-ups by senior Marcus Britt. The earlier trey by Davis would be the last basket for Victory for almost seven minutes, as it was strong defensive pressure and timely shooting that sent the Razorbacks on a 29-3 run to end the first half. The Hogs actually had the run out to 25-0 at one point, forcing six Victory turnovers and seven missed shots.
Led by junior Rotnei Clarke, who gave the Hogs their first lead of the night after draining his first three-pointer of the season at the 5:59 mark, Arkansas began to spread the wealth around. Every Razorback player who entered the game, scored at least one point going into halftime, which saw Arkansas out in front, 47-34.
Strong defense also saw the Hogs rack up 12 steals in the first half, with three players recording at least two. This is the second straight game the team has had over 10 steals in just the first half. Arkansas finished game with 32 turnovers altogether, their second straight with 30-plus.
Gaining the momentum at halftime, Arkansas came out just as strong in the second half, matching Victory shot for shot and actually extending their lead out to 37 late in the game. The Hogs never led by less than 11 for the rest of the contest.
Sophomore Glenn Bryant exploded in the second half with his own top of the line performance. He finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Clarke led all scorers with 17 points and was four-for-eleven from the three-point line.
Jeff Peterson saw his first action as a Razorback on Thursday, finishing with six points on 2-of-4 shooting from the floor.
The other Razorbacks who finished with double digit scoring were Julysses Nobles who had 13, and Michael Sanchez and Delvon Johnson who each had 11.
The basketball team finally gets their regular season underway next week when they take on Grambling St. at Bud Walton Arena on November 18th at 7 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback men’s basketball, log on to Arkansas Razorbacks.com.