Rickey Scott set a career high for the second game in a row with 23 points and also chipped in 6 rebounds and 5 assists as the Razorbacks downed Charlotte 80-67 Wednesday night before a season-high 10,800 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
Mardracus Wade nailed four 3-pointers while adding 14 points for Arkansas (9-3) while freshman big man Hunter Mickelson chipped in 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 of his team's seven blocks on the night.
"I think in the last three games he (Scott) is really starting to put it together," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "It is not necessarily just the scoring, but how he is scoring. He is letting the game come to him. He is taking advantage of what the defense gives him.
"But I like moreso the rebounding and the defensive intensity that he, Ju (Julysess) Nobles and Mardracus are bringing," Anderson said. "I think they are now starting to show the young guys how defense can create some easy offense for us."
"I thought Hunter came off the bench and gave us a big lift, patrolling the lane with four block shots," Anderson said. "To be his activeness and making Charlotte just not want to come in the paint there."
Charlotte (7-4) had won four road games already this season, but got pushed out of its rhythm early by Arkansas' defense.
"I thought tonight that we did not let Arkansas do what they wanted to do," Anderson said.
Charlotte shot just 34.9 percent from the field and hit just 18-of-32 free throws while also committing 18 turnovers.
It was the 49ers' second straight loss after riding a five-game win streak under second-year head coach Alan Major, a former Ohio State assistant.
"I thought they probably won the battle of the little things," Major said. "I thought the game just came down to the little things, Some hustle plays and effort plays and they did a good job on the offensive glass with 19 second-chance points."
Scott – who had 18 points in his previous outing – poured in all 14 of his team's points during a period that extended through halftime.
His spree only ended when he dished to DeVonta Abron for a dunk that put the Razorbacks up 50-29 with just over 17 minutes left in the game.
Charlotte (7-4) had won four road games already this season, but an early 20-4 Arkansas run turned its 5-3 deficit into a 23-7 lead and the 49ers never really threatened the home team after that point.
"It felt good coming off my wrist," Scott said. "Once I get that going I just feel good and feel like every shot is going in. I just got that feeling."
It was the second team-leading scoring effort in as many games for Scott - 9 of 14 from the floor and 5 of 8 from the line - after talking to his uncle before the game.
"Actually he called me last night just watching the (Miami) Heat play ( the Boston Celtics)," Scott said. "He said as a team we sort of play like them. They get up and down the court and dunking and getting the fans into it."
Scott noted that he is some getting advice has clearly resonated with him.
"All the coaches and my dad and uncle, they just told me to stay aggressive and I think that is what I was lacking at before," Scott said. "I was just staying aggressive, trying to keep my mind on defense and get steals and rebounds and just staying positive. The thing that had been messing me up was I was thinking negative.
That led to Mickelson offering up some advice.
"If it was up to me I would have his uncle move over here so he could talk to him a lot more," Mickelson said.
Wade buried a trio of 3-pointer early on in that aforementioned run.
"He made shots and he has really been shooting the ball well in practice and he has been doing it in games," Anderson said. "Our guys did a really good job of finding him whether it be in transition or on ball reversal. As a player you've got to knock them down and it was good to see him shoot it with confidence."
Anderson admitted that he was worried about this game when he first saw his team on Sunday night.
"I was really proud of our guys coming off a Christmas break," Anderson said. "We had a practice at 8 o'clock on Christmas night and I tell you the first three minutes we had a lot of guys that were just gasping for air. I was a little worried.
"But in between the next two days we got four workouts in and we got a lot of shooting in," Anderson added. "It was good to see our guys bring their practice to the game."
The only thing Anderson would have liked to have seen better was his team close the game out stronger.
After getting up by as much as 23 points on Rashad Madden's lay-up with 5:52 left, the Razorbacks let the 49ers make the game look better cosmetically.
Charlotte, which plays at Memphis on Saturday night, cut it to 77-66 with 31 seconds left.
"I think the only thing that didn't take place was the finish," Anderson said. "We didn't finish particularly well, but I just thought we did a lot of things - 20 assists on 26 field goals is being pretty efficient."
Michael Sanchez added 7 points and 8 rebounds and Marvell Waithe 7 points and 6 boards for the Razorbacks, who have now won four straight games.
"What tremendous effort (from Waithe)," Anderson said. "When you got a guy out there that is giving your everything he's got, it is hard for those other guys to go out there and not give you everything. They gave the effort and energy in the building was super."
They shot 43.3 percent from the field and out-rebounded the 49ers 48-40.
"There was a lot of energy and I think we had a lot of guys that I thought really played well," Anderson said.
One of those was Sanchez, who Anderson credited with holding Chris Braswell - Charlotte's leading scorer and rebounder with 15 points and 8 rebounds per game - to just 7 points and 4 rebounds on Wednesday.
Braswell did not start due to missing practice to a family emergency in the family.
"I thought Mike Sanchez had a big time impact on the game," Anderson said. "People may look at his scoring and stats and all that, but the thing I like is that he brings energy, he brings a level of toughness and the physicality of the game. He did a good job on their forwards."
KJ Sherrill, Javarris Barnett, Dario Green and DeMario Barnett all had 11 points for Charlotte.
The game was a doubleheader with the Lady Razorbacks, who downed Mississippi Valley State 59-40 in the opener.
Sarah Waktins had 15 points to lead the Lady Razorbacks (11-1), who have now won 11 games since a season-opening loss to Minnesota.
Arkansas will return to action Friday night with its final game of 2011 calendar year when it hosts Texas Southern in a 7 p.m. game.
The Razorbacks will then host Savannah State on Jan. 3 and complete a seven-game home stand when they open conference play with No. 15 Mississippi State on Saturday, Jan. 7.