NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas shot 50 percent from the field for the second time in three games and the Razorbacks used a red-hot second half to pull away from Jacksonville University for an 85-65 victory Saturday in Alltel Arena.
Arkansas, which is 3-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 season, forced 15 first-half turnovers in taking a 35-28 halftime lead. The Razorbacks shot 44 percent in the first half while JU (1-2) shot 45.5 percent. In the second period, the Hogs made 20 of 34 shots for 58.8 percent and gradually pulled away while holding the Dolphins to 39 percent shooting.
Sophomore Jonathon Modica led the Razorbacks in scoring for the third time this year, hitting 10 of 13 shots for a game-high 23 points. Kendrick Davis scored a season-high 19 points and made four of eight three-pointers. Freshman Ronnie Brewer led the team in assists for the third time with seven, and made six of eight shots for 12 points.
“I was pleased with our effort,” head coach Stan Heath said. “We got a lot better as a team. In the second half, we tried to play a little more inside out. We wanted to make our offense feed off our defense instead of the other way around. Kendrick was in a groove. He shot the ball very well.”
Davis started the second half with a three, and following a trey by Billy Pharis, he drained another three and hit a jumper after a Modica steal for a 46-28 Arkansas lead with 17:34 to play.
After UA built a 59-38 lead, Jacksonville, which was led by Haminn Quaintance and Jarred Stockton with 12 points each, closed within 64-52 with 8:42 remaining.
Davis answered with another three, Modica converted a three-point play and a dunk by Brewer pushed the margin to 72-54 with 7:07 left.
Arkansas shot 51.5 percent for the game (35-68), had 22 assists with 15 turnovers, forced 24 turnovers and had a 36-35 rebounding advantage.
“We strive to share the ball,” Heath said. “We had a lot of guys touching the ball today and it showed in the assists we had.”
Eric Ferguson and Olu Famutimi added eight points each for the Hogs while Vincent Hunter had six and Michael Jones four to go with a team-high six rebounds.
Aubrey Conerly added 10 points and a game-high 10 assists for Jacksonville.
Arkansas plays host to Oral Roberts on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in a non-televised game.