FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Rotnei Clarke scored 21 points and was one of five Arkansas men’s basketball players in double figures on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena which witnessed the Razorbacks eclipse the century mark in a 102-69 win over LeMoyne-Owen.
Arkansas held a slim two-point lead at halftime and in the second half held its opponent to just 20 points while it shot 57.6 percent from the floor to solidify the victory. The Magicians scored 49 points and shot 46.3 percent in the first half to keep the game close, but were held to 21.4 percent from the floor in the decisive second half.
"I thought that we guarded well in the second half," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "I knew that offense was not going to be an issue after we scored 51 in the first half. It was fun to get stops and get out on the break. Now we need to focus. We have a short time to get ready, but I thought that we played better than we did the other night."
The Razorbacks opened the contest with six-straight points to take the early advantage and scored 14 of the first 16 points putting the Magicians in an early deficit. LeMoyne-Owen would come back and get score 12 of the next 14 points to come within four, but a pesky Arkansas defense put a spell on the Magicians and kept them from getting any closer through the first 10 minutes of the game. The Razorbacks would once again build a 10-plus point lead from a variety of sources including Clarke who hit two three-point baskets and five of his first six shots overall and Mike Washington who was 2-3 from the floor and 3-5 from the free-throw line.
As good as Arkansas was over the opening 10 minutes, LeMoyne-Owen responded with some excellent play of its own, working its way back to within just a basket with under five minutes in the half. What was a very good shooting night for the Hogs early on, dried up late in the first half allowing LeMoyne-Owen to come back for its second 10-plus point deficit and come within two points at halftime.
The second half began similar to the first with the Razorbacks on fire from the floor. More good defense and an up-tempo offense helped Arkansas increase a two-point halftime lead back to 10 just five minutes into the period. That lead quickly grew to 15 and more as a tenacious Razorback defense left no wizardry in the Magician attack.
For the game, Arkansas shot 56.1 percent from the floor to just 33.7 percent from LeMoyne-Owen. In the second half, the Razorbacks were 19-33 for 57.6 percent. Joining Clarke were Courtney Fortson and Marshawn Powell with 18 points, Mike Washington with 11 points, and Glenn Bryant with 10. Powell led the Razorbacks in rebounds with nine and Julysses Nobles dished out a game-high eight assists.
The Razorbacks begin their regular season next Friday night, Nov. 13, when they host Alcorn St., at Bud Walton Arena. Tip is set for 7 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback men’s basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.