TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama used two scoring runs, one at the end of the first half and one midway through the second period, and Arkansas failed to capitalize at the free throw line as the No. 4 Crimson Tide knocked off the Razorbacks, 61-51, in the Southeastern Conference opener for each school on Wednesday.
Alabama (11-1, 1-0) jumped out to an 11-6 lead, but Arkansas scored 10 straight points, five by Jonathon Modica, to take a 16-11 lead with 8:29 left in the first half. The Razorbacks, however, did not make another field goal for the rest of the period. Modica made a free throw at the 6:41 mark as Alabama finished the half with a 14-1 scoring run and led 25-17 at the break.
In the second half, Carl Baker hit a jumper and a three-pointer around an Alonzo Lane free throw as the Hogs (5-7, 0-1) climbed within 27-25 with 16:45 to play, but a 20-9 run by the Crimson Tide pushed the margin to 47-34 with 10:10 remaining. Maurice Williams and Antoine Pettway each made two three-pointers during the run.
Arkansas cut the deficit to 60-53 on a steal and layup by Modica, but Erwin Dudley answered with a dunk and Kenny Walker made a pair of free throws to quickly push the margin to 54-43 at the 5:47 mark.
Arkansas battled the bigger Tide on the boards with Alabama claiming a slight 37-35 edge, marking just the fourth time this year the Razorbacks have been out-rebounded. The Hogs shot just 35.4 percent from the floor but they held Alabama to 38 percent shooting, and Arkansas forced 14 turnovers while losing the ball 17 times. The major difference came at the free throw line where UA made just 12 of 22 attempts (.545) while Alabama hit 15 of 20 (.750). Alabama was nine of 12 in the second half (.750) while Arkansas was only nine of 18 (.500).
Kendrick Davis led Arkansas with 13 points, followed by Modica and Dionisio Gomez with 10 each and Baker with seven. Michael Jones had eight rebounds and Gomez six.
Pettway led Alabama with 14 points while Dudley had a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Arkansas plays host to Auburn Saturday at 2 p.m. in a non-televised game.