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Strong bench play leads Hogs over Pirates

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Strong bench play leads Hogs over Pirates

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With three players off the bench in double figure scoring including Julysses Nobles, who led the team with 19, a career high, the Razorback men’s basketball team defeated Seton Hall, 71-62, on Wednesday night at the SEC-Big East Invitational in Louisville, Ky.

The Hogs were also not without strong play, once again, from senior Delvon Johnson, who finished the game with 10 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 8 blocks, good for his second straight double-double and third of the season. Sophomore Marshawn Powell also had his best game of the season with a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), his first of the season.

With the win, the Razorbacks move to 6-1 on the season, while Seton Hall falls to 3-4.

“This was really a game of runs,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “I’m very proud of our kids and I’m really proud of Delvon (Johnson), who was just two blocks away from a triple-double. I couldn’t be happier for him and for our team.”

Neither the Hogs nor the Pirates came out firing on all cylinders to start the game. Both teams went scoreless for the first minute and a half, before Nobles dropped the first bucket of the game after coming off the bench. Seton Hall would then go on a 7-0 run with five of them coming from Keon Lawrence, but the Hogs would gain the lead back after a couple of defensive stops to make it 10-9 at the 11:55 mark of the first half.

Once the Pirates got a layup from Jordan Theodore to make it 11-10, the Razorbacks would then go on a huge 21-3 run over the next six and half minutes to gain the big 16 point advantage. Over that run, Nobles had eight of the Hog points while Powell had four. Since starting the game 1-7 from the field, the Hogs clearly found their shot as the half continued, going 13-for-21 over an eight minute span, which included the big run.

After both clubs traded buckets for the remaining time in the half, the Pirates did cut the lead down to 12 with the Hogs still out in front, 38-26.

Going into halftime, Arkansas was already beginning to get another good defensive performance from Johnson, who had four blocks in just the first half alone. Leading the way in the point category was Nobles, who had 12 points, followed by Powell, who had 10. As a team, Arkansas was shooting 47 percent from the field, while Seton Hall was at 30 percent.

At the start of the second half, it was the Pirates who went on their own run, scoring 10 of the first 15 points of the half to pull within seven at the 16:08 mark. A jumper by junior Rotnei Clarke would take the Hog lead back to nine before Seton Hall rolled off six straight points at the midway point of the half to pull within three and force John Pelphrey to call a timeout.

Both teams would trade buckets for the next two minutes to keep the Hog lead at three, but the Pirates’ Jordan Theodore would give his team the lead after driving to the lane and drawing the foul twice in two possessions and knocking down all four free throws to gain the one point lead. Theodore would finish the game to lead all scorers with 24 points.

With just under seven minutes to play, the Razorbacks would get another big run, although not quite as big as the one earlier in the game. This run tallied up to 11-0 over three and a half minutes, which included a couple of dunks from Johnson and freshman Rickey Scott and was capped by a Nobles three-pointer. That run gave the Hogs a ten point lead with 2:19 to play, which was just enough to give the Hogs the victory.

After a sluggish start in the first half, Arkansas, as a team, shot 44 percent from the field and was 6-for-15 from behind the three-point line. Seton Hall finished the game at 35 percent from the field and an even 35 percent from three-point land.

The men’s basketball team gets a little of a break for finals before they hit the court again next Wednesday against Mississippi Valley State. That game will be played at Bud Walton Arena with the tip scheduled for 7 p.m. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Basketball (M)