FAYETTEVILLE – The Razorback men’s basketball team ended their two game losing streak on Tuesday night at Bud Walton Arena with a 73-64 win over the Auburn Tigers. The Razorbacks, who at one point had a 20 point lead over the Tigers in the second half, staved off a big Tiger rally to pull out the nine point victory.
Arkansas (13-6, 3-3) did not have the greatest percentage from behind the three-point line, but made the freebies from the line, going 26-of-34, a season-high, as well as getting a sixth straight double doubles effort from sophomore Marshawn Powell. Powell finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds. With the loss, Auburn falls to 7-13 and suffers their sixth straight conference loss.
“I’m glad to get the win,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “I thought for 30 minutes, we played good defense and rebounded the ball well. The last 10 minutes were not as good, but we hit our free throws down the stretch and our student body was amazing tonight and I want to thank them.”
The cold crept in from outside Bud Walton arena in the first half as both teams struggled to find their shot early, combining for 2-for-13 from the field by the first media timeout. However, the Hogs, who have in recent games struggled from behind the three point line, found the right formula for an inside game, getting strong production from senior Delvon Johnson and Powell. Both Powell and Johnson nabbed a combined nine rebounds and also three blocks in the first half to go along with 14 of Arkansas’ 36 first half points.
With the Razorbacks forcing the inside game, Auburn caught the foul bug early, putting Arkansas in the bonus within the first five minutes of play. The Hogs were able to capitalize on going to the line early, shooting 11-for-15 from the charity stripe in the first half alone.
Even after Arkansas would put up a couple of mini runs and go up by as much as five points, the Tigers seemed to always answer back with their own run as they kept it very close to end the half only down 34-30. Both Auburn and Arkansas would recover from their early shooting spells to go 43 and 46 percent from the floor respectively. Junior Rotnei Clarke would lead all scorers at the break with 10 points with Powell following up with eight points and five rebounds.
Out of halftime, the Hogs came out firing, starting on a 21-1 run through the first 10 minutes of play which built up a huge 55-31 lead at the 9:08 mark. Powell would be the one to get things started for the Hogs as he scored the first five points of that run, but then Clarke would add six more later, including a three pointer to make it 21 point lead. That three by Clarke would be his only three of the night as he went only 1-for-4 from behind the arc.
As soon as that run ended, the Tigers would start making their own run over the next five minutes of play to make it only a 10 point game with four and a half minutes to go. Luckily the Hogs would remain solid from the free throw line to keep the Tigers at arm’s distance for the remainder of the half. In the second half alone, the Razorbacks would go 15-for-19 from the line.
Four Razorback players would finish the game with double digit point totals. Clarke and sophomore Julysses Nobles would each have 16 points to lead the team, while Powell and Johnson would combine with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
The Hogs hit the road again for their next contest as they are set to play the Vanderbilt Commodores on Jan. 29 in Nashville, Tenn. That game is scheduled to tip-off at 5 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Sports Net and also seen on ESPN3.com. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.