FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas men’s basketball team extended its non-conference home winning streak to 39 games with a 89-80 victory over Austin Peay, the defending Ohio Valley Conference champions, Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena. Michael Washington led a trio of Razorbacks in double figures with 24 points, the junior forward’s fourth game this year with at least 20 points. He also tied a career high with 14 rebounds.
The freshman duo of Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke chipped in 20 and 14 points, respectively, in the win for Arkansas (7-1). Following his triple-double performance in the Hogs’ last outing, Fortson registered seven assists and seven rebounds to go along with his point total.
Clarke saved his biggest basket of the night for the closing moments of the game. After a made free throw by the Governors’ cut his team’s lead to four, Clarke pulled up behind the three-point line and knocked in his first shot of the second half giving Arkansas an 80-73 lead with 1:48 to play.
Michael Sanchez made two free throws and took a charge inside the final minute and a half to put the Razorbacks in the position to ice with the game at the free-throw line. The Hogs finished the night shooting a season-best 86.2 percent from the charity stripe. Arkansas connected on 25 on its 29 free-throw attempts.
The home team also finished the night with a season-high 53.8 field-goal percentage. The Razorbacks outrebounded Austin Peay (5-4) by a 34-21 margin and cut their turnovers down from 26 in their last game to just 11 miscues against the Governors. The Hogs were as effective in the paint with a 34-22 advantage.
Arkansas fell behind early and trailed by five after a three-point bucket by the Governors’ Wes Channels. Arkansas fought back and claimed its first lead, 19-17, after a layup by Washington with 12:56 remaining in the first half.
With just over nine minutes to play in the opening period, Austin Peay held the 29-24 advantage on a layup by Duran Roberson. Again, the Hogs responded with a 9-0 run to take a four-point lead. Fortson scored knocked in a three pointer and a layup to score the last five points of the scoring run for the Razorbacks. Arkansas wouldn’t trail again.
Both teams torched the nets in the first half. The visitors put in 51.9 percent of their shots, while the Razorbacks connected on 17 of their 28 first-half attempts, good for a 60.7 field-goal percentage. Arkansas was equally as effective from the charity stripe, knocking in 11 of the 13 free throws in the first half.
Arkansas went into halftime with a nine-point advantage, 50-41.
The Razorbacks return to action Dec. 20 to take on Stephen F. Austin in the finale of the Jim Thorpe Classic. The game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start at Bud Walton Arena. For continued coverage and more news about the Hogs, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.