FAYETTEVILLE -The first half of Wednesday night's basketball game at Bud Walton Arena had all the electricity of an Amish hip hop concert.
But minutes after MC Jebediah finished his set at halftime, the Razorbacks finally plugged it in for a few minutes and got on to the task of downing an overmatched and winless foe.
Rotnei Clarke had 19 points and Julysess Nobles 13 as Arkansas turned a one-point second half lead into a 66-56 victory over the Redhawks before 5,334 fans.
Delvon Johnson added 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks for the Razorbacks (3-0) in the mostly listless win over SEMO (0-5), who has five players from Arkansas on its roster.
The Redhawks out-rebounded the home team 46-35 and had a whopping 22 offensive rebounds, but that was not enough to offset 23 turnovers and and 33.3 percent shooting.
"We feel very fortunate to get out of here with this deal, with the win," Pelphrey said. "I thought SEMO came in here and played a really good game and we knew that would do that.
"Defensively we did okay, forced them into 23 turnovers and a lot of missed shots, but we did not do a good job of competing for rebounds tonight, was a little careless with the basketball early in the game. Second half we were a little bit better with that and then the foul trouble, fouling too much - 21 times in this game. That is going to catch up to us. Those two areas are concerning - we are going to have to compete better for rebounds and we are going to have to learn to play without fouling Some of those were ones of carelessness."
It was the second of the three games this week for the Razorbacks, who host UAB Friday night at North Little Rock's Verizon Arena.
Marcus Britt added 7 points, Jemal Farmer 6 and Marvell Waithe 5 in the win.
The Razorbacks played a second straight game without standout sophomore forward Marshawn Powell, who rested his sore ankle again as he did on Monday in his team's 90-47 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
Pelphrey said the plan is to play him on Friday night if he makes it through practice on Thursday.
SEMO head coach Dickey Nutt, the former program boss at Arkansas State, was happy with his team.
"I am very, very pleased with our guys," Nutt said. "I really didn't know what to expect because we have a lot of new faces. We knew we were facing a very, very athletic basketball team. I was really proud of our guys. A lot of the hustle stats really showed up with our rebounding, it was very good. Our defense was okay."
After blistering the nets with 14 3-pointers and 55 percent shooting from the floor against Monday's opponent, Arkansas shot only 40.4 percent and made six 3-pointers on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks ht 14 of 20 free throws, but four of those misses came on 1-and-1s near the end of the game, two of them by Clarke on his 4-of-7 on the night from the charity line.
Nutt said Clarke was the difference in the two teams on this night.
"Clarke is a phenomenal shooter," Nutt said. "I have been around basketball a long time and he is one phenomenal shooter. He can stop on a dime full speed coming off screens. He is very, very tough to guard. I thought he was the difference in the game because he just kept making shots at opportunities where we felt like we had a chance."
Arkansas led 28-18 with 5:12 remaining in the first half, but found itself ahead just 34-33 minutes into the second half.
A 9-0 run capped by Glenn Bryant's steal and slam got control of the game for the Razorbacks with a 43-33 lead with 15:49 left in the game.
That advantage moved to 51-37 on Jeff Peterson's long range two-pointer and Johnson's free throw with 11 minutes exactly left in the game.
The Razorbacks would lead by 14 once again in the game at 62-48, but never could turn the game into the expected route
"That's what I was most proud of," Nutt said. "In watching Arkansas from start to finish in three or four games now that they have played, they are a team of runs. When they score some baskets, they really try to take you from a 10-point lead and stretch it to a 20-point lead. That was the thing that was the most concern for us coming in - sustain that pressure and try to just run the clock and I thought we did a decent job with that.
"When they got it to 12 in the first half we could easily have thrown our hands up and say 'hey. we haven't had much success this year and it would be real easy to throw in the towel, but our guys played well and we just did a good job of fighting and clawing. I thought we made some big punches to punch back and not back down."
The missed free throws allowed the Redhawks to make the score more cosmetic at the end.
"That was surprising because our game plan the whole time in the last few minutes - while just trying to play a catch-up mode 10 points down - was not to foul him (Clarke) ," Nutt said. "That was our plan, but if you make a couple of passes and it does get into his hands without the clocking running we have to foul him and so we did and for him to miss free throws was shocking. But sometimes that is just the way it is."
Leaon Powell had 12 points to lead the Redhawks while former Marianna player Anthony Allison and Marcus Brister each had 10 points and former Jonesboro star Lucas Nutt 8 points and 5 rebounds for the Redhawks.
Former Little Rock Hall standout Marland Smith added 4 points for SEMO.
Arkansas will do community service on Thanksgiving morning and then practice at 12:30.
"After two hours of blocking out (for rebounds), then we will have a dinner," Pelphrey said.
Delvon Johnson goes up for a shot against SEMO 7-foot center Zach House.
Marvell Waithe (22) tries to battle for a rebound against two Redhawks as former Little Rock Hall guard Marland Smith looks on.
Jemal Farmer gets loose for a dunk.
Glenn Bryant takes one of SEMO's 23 turnovers and flushes it home.
Arkansas coach John Pelphrey voices his displeasure with a referee's call.
Rotnei Clarke takes a shot over former Marianna star Anthony Allison.
Clarke contends on one of Allison's shots
Julysess Nobles puts in a pair of his 13 points.
Iowa transfer Jeff Peterson drives to the basket.