Alabama rolls Arkansas 81-65

Razorbacks fall to 8-6 overall and 0-3 in SEC action as promising first half play turns into a nightmare of a second half and Alabama uses free throw line to turn game into rout.

Anytime one of the teams in a college basketball game scores 42 of 58 points in a stretch odds, the other is not likely to go home victorious.

Alabama made sure that was the case on Wednesday night when it rebounded from a five-point, first-half deficit to hammer Arkansas 81-65 in an SEC contest at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Kennedy Winston had 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half when the Crimson Tide marched to the free throw line 19 times to the Razorbacks' five after intermission.

Arkansas had led the game 32-27 at one time in the first half and went to halftime with a 35-34 advantage.

"It was two different games," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "For 20 minutes we were fiery, we were into it, we were making aggressive plays, we were making shots and defending very well.

"But it seemed like when the second half began, our couple of our shots didn''t fall, they made a couple of hustle plays and it just seemed like we put our heads down and for the next 20 minutes we didn't recover," Heath added.

Ernest Shelton had 19 points and Ernest Shelton added 17 for Alabama (9-4, 1-1) while Jonathon "Pookie" Modica was the only player in double figures for Arkansas (8-6, 0-3) with 17 points, but only four points after halftime.

Arkansas freshman guard Ronnie Brewer had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals , 4 assists and a pair of blocked shot, but also six of his team's 16 turnovers.

Razorback sophomore guard Eric Ferguson was scoreless and had five turnovers in 14 minutes of action.

"We didn't show poise and we didn't show leadership out there on the floor," Heath said. "...They (Brewer and Ferguson) are better ballhandlers than that. They threw a press on us, but I didn't think it was anything we haven't faced or gone against in practice. We were prepared for it, but a couple of times we just simply threw the ball away."

Since Ferguson was struggling, Brewer took over at point guard.

"I didn't think Eric was really into the game for some reason," Heath said. "We talked and we need him. He is a very valuable player, he is a guy that has the ball in his hands quite a bit. So a lot of this game we went with Ronnie at the points and it was probably a little bit more pressure than he was ready to face."

It was a game where a whopping 45 fouls were called and the Razorbacks looked like a totally different team came back out after halftime.

"It is going to be hard to win any games if we make five free throws compared to somebody else making 25," Heath said. "I've got to watch the film and see why. I think some of it was their aggressiveness, but some of that was how the game was being played. In the first half it was very physical and they game changed it the second half for whatever reason. There were more touch fouls, so much ticky-tack stuff and we didn't respond to it and that was our fault."

With Modica bouncing off the bench for 13 first-half points, Arkansas (8-6, 0-3) actually led 32-27 with just over three minutes remaining before intermission before setting for 35-34 halftime advantage.

The Razorbacks hit 7-of-12 3-pointers in the first half, but just 1-of-8 found the mark from beyond the arc after halftime.

Alabama scored the first five points of the second half, never trailed again and had pushed that margin to 62-46 with 8:34 left in the game.

That lead would crest at 69-48 - capping the 42-16 spree when Winston made two free throws just moments later - before Arkansas finally got some offense going to make the score appear a little more respectable.

Alabama shot 50 percent from the field (26-of-52), were 4-of-14 from 3-point range and 25-of-35 from the free throw line.

Arkansas shot 43 percent from the field (26-of-51), 8-of-20 from 3-point range by going 1-for-8 from the behind the arc after halftime, hit 5-of 10 from the free throw line and outboarded the Crimson Tide 37-34.

The Razorbacks will try to get its first SEC win this season and leap over Ole Miss out of the SEC West basement when the Rebels visit Bud Walton for a 2:05 p.m. game on Saturday afternoon.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories