FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Numerous turnovers committed by Tulsa on Tuesday night proved too costly for the Golden Hurricane and allowed Arkansas to roll to an 85-73 victory in Bud Walton Arena.
The Hogs’ tough defense resulted in 27 turnovers with Arkansas scoring 32 points off those miscues, including 21 in the first half when UA took a 43-32 lead at the break on a Dontell Jefferson three just before the buzzer.
The win improves Arkansas to 5-0, its best start since the 1998 club began the year 8-0.
Freshman Steven Hill guided the UA defensive effort with four block shots and two steals while also contributing nine points and five rebounds.
“We had a great effort,” UA head coach Stan Heath said. “We tried to fatigue them. Our big guys did great tonight. Steven had his best game as a Razorback. I am really proud of our freshmen. I was very excited about how we played. We are going to get better.”
Hill knocked down four of five shots while other freshmen big men Darian Townes and Charles Thomas also made major contributions. Townes had six points, five rebounds and two blocked shots, and Thomas, making his second straight start, had a team-high 16 points on five-of-eight shooting, four rebounds and two assists.
The teams traded one-point leads through the first six minutes of the game before Arkansas jumped out to a 22-12 lead on a three-point play by Jonathon Modica. Tulsa (1-2) got within 22-20, but Eric Ferguson hit a three, and Townes and Ronnie Brewer scored on layups to make it 30-20.
When the second half rolled around, the Hogs dominated and maintained a sizable lead the rest of the way. Sophomore Olu Famutimi came alive and recorded all of his 11 points in the second period. He also had a team-high four assists and was two-of-four on three points while going four-of-eight from the field overall.
A Famutimi three pushed the score to 50-34 with 18:26 remaining and the Golden Hurricane closed to 54-41 on a three-pointer by Seneca Collins, but a layup by Rashard Sullivan and two straight buckets by Famutimi gave Arkansas a 60-41 lead with 14:06 remaining.
A layup by Thomas with 2:12 left gave the Hogs an 83-64 lead before Tulsa scored seven straight and cut the final margin to 12.
“The 27 turnovers were the biggest key of this game,” Heath said. “It changed the game.
Junior Eric Ferguson performed well off the bench, hitting three-of-six threes and finishing with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Brewer was six-of-12 shooting for 14 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Tulsa was led by senior Jarius Glenn, who led all scorers with 30 points. He was 10-of-13 from the field and 10-of-11 at the line. He also had 11 rebounds and five assists. Anthony Price added 13 points and Guilherme Teichman 10.
Arkansas faces third-ranked Illinois at 1 p.m. Saturday in Alltel Arena at North Little Rock. The game is being nationally televised by ESPN.