FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Marshawn Powell put together the first 20-plus point game of his young Arkansas career with a game high 29 points to lead the Razorback men’s basketball team to an 81-72 overtime win against Appalachian State at Bud Walton Arena on Friday night in Fayetteville.
The Razorback victory improves Arkansas to 2-1 on the year and undefeated on its home court while Appalachian State falls to 2-2.
"I was pleased with the win," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said. "I thought that our inexperience showed a little tonight. We had a chance to push our lead in the second half and it went the other way on us. I was pretty pleased with the way we played in overtime. It was nice to see the guys respond and get the win."
The Razorbacks fell behind in the opening minute of the contest as Appalachian State scored the first four points of the contest. After that it was all Arkansas for the next seven minutes as the Hogs scored the next 21 points to take a 21-4 lead midway through the opening period. Powell was in the zone during that time as he scored 12 points and a pair of Rotnei Clarke three-point baskets contributed to the lead. The Mountaineers broke the Arkansas scoring streak with a pair of free throws, but the Razorbacks countered with another Clarke three-pointer and a steal and layup by the Verdigris, Okla., native.
A stingy Arkansas defense coupled with poor Appalachian State shooting contributed to the lowest point total by a Razorback opponent at Bud Walton Arena this season. The Mountaineers tallied 23 first-half points on just 23.5 percent shooting and were three points shy of Arkansas’ first opponent at home, Alcorn St., who scored just 26 points in the Razorbacks’ season-opening win. The Razorbacks took a 38-23 lead into the break on the strength of their 59 percent shooting and a combined 27 points from Powell and Clarke.
The Mountaineers got off to another hot start as the second half began, scoring the first five points. Arkansas would counter to keep Appalachian State at bay momentarily, but the Mountaineers continued their very strong second-half shooting to pull within four with 15 minutes to play. Appalachian State even got to within one basket of tying or taking the lead on several occasions through the middle moments of the second half, but each time an Arkansas defensive stop or missed shot kept the Razorbacks ahead.
A four-minute dry spell for the Razorbacks which took the clock down to the 7:30 mark allowed Appalachian State to take its first lead since the opening minute of the contest. A Delvon Johnson free throw and three-pointer by freshman Julysses Nobles broke the scoreless streak and put Arkansas back on top, 55-53. After a jump ball created by excellent Nobles defense, a 17-foot Mike Washington jumper stretched Arkansas’ lead to four as the clock crept under six minutes to play. A Clarke steal and subsequent pair of free throws electrified the Bud Walton Arena crowd and put the Razorbacks up by six.
Appalachian State stuck with their three-point game throughout the second half and hit seven of 13 in the final 20 minutes, but none were as big as Josh Hunter’s with 5.6 to play which tied the game at 68. The Mountaineers had a chance to tie the game or come within one in the closing minute, but a drive and missed shot was pulled down by Stephen Cox. Down by three, Appalachian State worked the shot clock down before Hunter launched his game-tying shot. Clarke attempted a desperation three with two defenders draped over him, but his shot hit the front of the rim and failed to fall sending the game to overtime.
The overtime period witnessed Arkansas’ front court tandem of Powell and Washington score seven points to open the five-minute period and give Arkansas another solid lead. The Razorbacks then worked the clock for the next two minutes to secure the win with Nobles and Jemal Farmer hitting four and two free throws respectively to ice the contest.
Four Razorbacks scored in double figures in the contest led by Powell’s 29. Clarke scored 16 for the second straight game with Washington getting a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Farmer rounded out the double-digit Razorbacks with 12 points. Also playing well for the Hogs was point guard Nobles who scored nine points and dished out seven assists to just three turnovers.
Appalachian State was led by Donald Sims who scored 17 points. Kellen Brand tallied 13 and Josh Hunter scored 11 and nabbed a game high 11 rebounds in the loss.
The Razorbacks are back in action on Tuesday evening when they take on Morgan St., in their third of four games as part of the Hall of Fame Classic. For more information regarding Razorback men’s basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.