FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In its final tune-up for the 2008-09 regular season, Arkansas posted a 108-80 victory over Dillard University Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks had five players with double-digit point totals, including a pair of double-doubles from junior post Michael Washington and freshman guard Courtney Fortson.Washington tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds while Fortson notched an 11-point, 10-assist performance in his season debut. Rotnei Clarke and Jason Henry tallied 20 and 14 points, respectively, and Andre Clark knocked in 12 points against Dillard.
After Washington’s lay-up to open the game’s scoring, Clarke knocked in Arkansas’ next eight points on two three-point baskets and a pair of free throws. The second free throw gave the Razorbacks a 10-4 lead, but Dillard got a three pointer from David Manning to cut the lead in half.
Fortson put in the Razorbacks’ third trey of the game to spur a seven-point surge capped by a putback by Michael Sanchez. The tip by Sanchez gave Arkansas a 10-point lead, 17-7.
The Razorbacks maintained the advantage but weren’t able to stretch their lead early in the first half of play. A pair of baskets by Dillard’s Michael Bridges cut into the lead and the home team led, 25-21.
Arkansas responded with a dunk by Washington and a three-point basket from Stefan Welsh. The Razorbacks turned up the defensive pressure to force a shot-clock violation and lead 30-21. In the first 20 minutes of play, John Pelphrey’s club forced 15 Dillard turnovers while committing seven of its own.
A putback by Brandon Moore gave Arkansas a 15-point lead and a fast-break dunk by Henry capped a 14-3 run to give his team a 44-27 lead.
Both teams were solid from the field in the first half with the Razorbacks knocking in 53.8 percent of their shots on 21-of-39 shooting and Dillard scoring at a 52-percent clip. The Blue Devils ended the first half making 13 of their 25 shot attempts.
The visitors cut the Razorback lead to 12 with a three pointer by Kenyon Harper with 2:33 remaining in the half, but the Hogs didn’t allow a field goal in the final 2:13 of the half and closed the opening period on a 12-5 scoring run. The push was capped, and highlighted, by an alley-oop from Fortson to Clark. It was one of Fortson’s nine first-half assists.
Arkansas went into the locker room with a 61-42 halftime lead.
At the beginning of the second half, Clarke notched a four-point play to continue the scoring barrage. The Verdigris, Okla., native was perfect from the line on the night and finished the exhibition season without a miss from the free-throw line, connecting on all eight attempts. Clarke was also nine-of-15 from the three-point line in the preseason games.
Dillard lost some of its scoring punch early in the half when Manning fouled out less than two minutes into the second half. Manning scored 14 first-half points for the Blue Devils.
Arkansas used its depth and size advantage to stretch its lead throughout the rest of the game. The Hogs held the advantage in bench scoring, 49-33, and out-rebounded their opponents, 49-34. Washington finished the game with a game-high 10 boards.
Washington scored on a putback to push the Razorback lead over 30 at 90-59. Arkansas reached the 100-point mark with a dunk by Montrell McDonald. The play was set up by Fortson and his 10th assist of the night.
Arkansas kicks off its season with a Nov. 14 matchup with Southeastern Louisiana. The game is set for a 7:05 tip from Bud Walton Arena. For more information and continued coverage of UA athletics, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com