FAYETTEVILLE — Sophomore Mardracus Wade scored 18 points and freshman Hunter Mickelson blocked a career high seven shots to lead the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team over Texas Southern, 77-49, Friday night at Bud Walton Arena.
With the win Arkansas improves to 10-3, while Texas Southern drops to 1-11. Arkansas has now won all 10 of its games inside Bud Walton Arena this season and improved its non-conference winning streak at home to 20 games.
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson was impressed with his team’s performance after just one day of rest following a win over Charlotte on Wednesday.
"That was a quick turnaround," Anderson said. "I thought we came out with tremendous effort. Give Texas Southern credit, they never gave up."
Using its smothering full court press, Arkansas did not allow a Texas Southern basket in the first 3:24 and jumped out to a 14-2 lead nearly nine minutes into the game. Wade netted two free throws to push the lead to 26-8 with 7:22 remaining in the first half, and two more from the line with two seconds left to send Arkansas to the locker room with a 39-19 halftime lead.
"It is important to have a guy who can knock shots down," Anderson said of Wade. "He has put the time in."
Wade had 12 points in the first half alone, and continued his strong shooting by opening the second period with a three-pointer to put Arkansas ahead 42-19. The Razorbacks consistently forced Tigers turnovers and increased the lead in the second half behind an efficient offensive attack and tenacious defense. Arkansas led by 31 points, 74-43, when freshman forward Devonta Abron made two free throws for the largest lead of the night.
Mickelson’s career-high seven blocked shots give him 33 on the year for an average of 2.53 blocks per game. He remains one of three freshman in the country who have blocked a shot in every game of their career and his seven-block effort matches the ninth best in Arkansas history. The 13 points were also a career-high.
"Hunter continues to be a presence on the floor," Anderson said. "It is nice to have a big guy who can have a presence without scoring, and tonight he scored."
Wade’s 18 points came on 5-of-9 shooting including 4-of-7 from three-point range. Sophomore Rickey Scott was also in double figures for the Razorbacks with 10 points, his third straight game scoring double figures. Senior Marvell Waithe added ten points and six rebounds along with two blocks and two steals; and junior guard Julysses Nobles had eight points, a career high eight rebounds and four assists.
Arkansas’ defense forced 25 turnovers in the game and scored 30 points off of those turnovers. The Razorback offense, meanwhile, tallied 21 assists on 25 made baskets in the game. Over the last two contests, Arkansas’ offense has been credited with 41 assists on 51 made shots.
Forward Fred Sturdivant led Texas Southern with 19 points and 13 rebounds on the night. No other Tigers player reached double digits in scoring.
The Razorbacks return to action Tuesday, Jan. 3, against Savannah State at 7 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena. For more information about Razorback basketball, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.