The University of Arkansas men’s basketball team cruised to an opening day victory at Bud Walton Arena last Thursday night, but have their work cut out for them this week as they play three games in five days beginning with Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m., on Monday, Nov. 22.
Arkansas’ (1-0) schedule begins with the Florida Gulf Coast contest and continues on Wednesday night when it hosts Southeast Missouri State before culminating with Alabama-Birmingham in North Little Rock, Ark., on Friday. Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey was concerned about the stretch of games, but understands that it will make his Razorbacks a stronger team at the end of the run.
Sophomore shooting guard Rotnei Clarke paced the Razorbacks in the season opener with 20 points in 25 minutes as he buried five three-point baskets for the seventh time in his Razorback career. Clarke went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and hit all five of his free throws to increase his already stunning percentages in both areas. After Clarke there was a logjam of Razorbacks in terms of points as Arkansas distributed the ball to all players. Arkansas played 12 in the contest, 10 scored points and seven had at least seven in the contest. Junior Marvell Waithe led Arkansas in rebounds with seven while Delvon Johnson grabbed six.
Florida Gulf Coast (2-1) has already played three games this season opening the year with a loss at Indiana, 88-60, before defeating Southeast Missouri State, 89-78, and Grambling State, 74-70. The FGCU-Grambling State game took place on Saturday night and saw three Eagles score in double figures led by Reed Baker who tallied a game high 23 points on the strength of shooting 14-of-16 from the free throw line. Post Tim Snyder tallied 21 points as the Eagles pounded the ball inside.
The Arkansas-Florida Gulf Coast game will be broadcast on the radio across the state of Arkansas on the Razorback Sports Network from IMG College with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer giving the call. Barrett is in his first season as the play-by-play voice of the Razorbacks, replacing the legendary Mike Nail who held the position for 29 years.
Looking past the Florida Gulf Coast contest, Arkansas has a busy week with games against Southeast Missouri State and Alabama-Birmingham.