FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman Jonathon Modica got Arkansas off to a great start and the Razorbacks never looked back in posting a 78-67 victory over Sam Houston State Wednesday at Bud Walton Arena.
Modica scored 17 points in the first half and was responsible for 13 of Arkansas’ first 19 points as the Razorbacks jumped out to a 19-11 lead on the way to a 42-27 advantage at the half. Modica, who hit eight of 12 shots and finished with a season-high matching 19 points, three rebounds, four assists and one steal, scored nine of UA’s first 19 points and had assists on two other buckets.
The Razorbacks shot 51.6 percent from the field in the first period while holding Sam Houston State (2-3) to 40.7 percent. In the second period, the Bearkats shot 46.4 percent and UA dropped off to 38.2, but the Hogs continued hitting the boards and finished with a 46-31 rebounding edge, including 20 offensive rebounds. Arkansas entered the game leading the Southeastern Conference with 16.83 offensive rebounds per game.
UA also survived Robert Shannon in the second period. He entered the game averaging 2.8 points for the season and had just four points at the half, but he hit eight of 10 shots in the second half, including seven of nine three-pointers, to score 27 in the half and 31 for the game. He was the only Bearkat in double figures.
His three with 13:18 to go got the Bearkats within 56-40, but Michael Jones made a three and Alonzo Lane drove down the lane for a dunk to push the margin to 61-40. Another three by Shannon closed the gap to 76-63 with 2:31 left, but Eric Ferguson answered with a pair of free throws.
Kendrick Davis made seven of eight free throws and finished with 13 points. Ferguson and Dionisio Gomez scored 11 each. Ferguson also added four rebounds, five assists and four steals. Gomez added eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Lane had six points and 10 rebounds, his first double-figure rebounding game since his freshman season when he had 11 boards at Memphis.
Arkansas plays host to Southwest Texas State Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in a game televised by ARSN.