Arkansas 74, Auburn 52

Michael Jones has 17 points and Arkansas quarterback-turned-forward Matt Jones tosses in a career-high 11 as the Razorbacks hammer the Tigers Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena before a sparse crowd of 7,821 fans that braved the weather.

Auburn had far too many of Arkansas' basketball Joneses coming at it Wednesday night to mount a second half-charge this time.

Junior Michael Jones had 17 points and quarterback-turned-basketball player Matt Jones added a career-high 11 as the Razorbacks whipped the Tigers 74-52 before a sparse crowd of 7,821 fans that braved the weather to file into Bud Walton Arena.

It was a far different ending for Arkansas (11-8, 3-5) this time than two weeks ago when it jumped out to a 19-point first half lead at Auburn (11-8, 2-6) only to end up losing 70-63.

"We played well tonight," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "It look like Jekyll showed up instead of Hyde. We seem to play well in this building. I just wish we could bottle up the magic that is in here and take it with us."

Ronnie Brewer added 10 points , 4 rebounds and 3 assists and Eric Ferguson 9 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists off the bench and starter Olu Famutimi 7 points and 4 assists for the Razorbacks, who aided Auburn into 16 of its 18 turnovers before intermission.

Brewer and Ferguson had just one turnover each and Famutimi no miscues while playing 88 minutes combined on a night when Arkansas had just 12 turnovers.

The win moved them all the way from the cellar of the SEC Western Division into a third-place time with Alabama and Ole Miss, who both fell to 3-5 in league play with losses on Wednesday night.

"We've been down, but we didn't stay down," Heath said. "You've got to give these guys a lot of credit. They came out and played with some confidence tonight. We were able to take them (the Tigers) out of rhythm and cause confusion and were able to hold our own on the glass."

The Razorbacks, which shot 50 percent overall (28-of-56) from the field and from the 3-point line (10-of-20), had 20 assists to 12 turnovers.

Dwayne Curtis led Auburn with 11 points as the Tigers lost their third straight game and their fifth in six contests while falling into the basement of the division by itself.

The Tigers shot just 28.3 percent from the field, making only 15 of their 53 shots they hoisted from the field and 6 of 26 shot from behind the arc. The league's top rebounders only outboarded Arkansas by one carom.

"From a defensive standpoint, we didn't rebound the ball tonight and that was very disappointing," Auburn head coach Cliff Ellis said. "Offensively, we shot poorly, Everything added up and we didn't play as well as we should have. Arkansas had a tremendous game tonight."

After playing two of their worst halves of the year on Saturday in a 70-51 loss at Georgia, the Razorbacks responded with one of their better ones in the opening half against the Tigers.

Arkansas used a 17-0 run to turn an 8-4 deficit into a 21-8 lead with 8:33 left in the first half during a time that Auburn was going scoreless for over eight minutes of clock time.

By the time that Matt Jones, making his first start in his eighth game of the year, followed up his slam by stealing a pass and laying in another basket, the lead had grown to 32-12 with 3:12 remaining before intermission.

The run would end up being a 32-4 one as was capped on Brewer's layup made it 36-12 with 1:31 left - a stretch where the Tigers had just two baskets in almost 14 minutes of clock time.

"That run in the first half was a big run for us," Heath said. "I think it was sparked by a different lineup. We put Ferguson in the game and it triggered something for us."

There was one stretch where Auburn did not score during from the time there was exactly 15 minutes left on the clock to there was just 6:21 remaining before intermission. That covered the time between two official times plus additional minutes.

"When Arkansas got the momentum going, they got an extra pop in their step and they played great," Ellis said. "They had a lot of energy out there, Our guys started feeling sorry for themselves and we started dragging. I did a poor job rectifying the situation for them."

The Razorbacks led 36-16 at half and pushed its advantage to 51-25 early on in the second half when Famutimi knocked down a 3-pointer – the final of three straight by the Razorbacks – with 12:29 left in the game.

"We were playing as a team," Famutimi said. "More minutes and everyone working hard made a difference. We didn't celebrate too early this time. We played the entire game. The home crowd helped, but mostly we just played a full 40 minutes."

Ironically Arkansas never let it get under 19 from that point on and took a 74-49 lead when walk on Preston Cranford buried a 3-pointer and then followed it up with a free throw with just under 20 seconds left in the contest.

The only disappointment for the home crowd was that the referees whistled five fouls on Matt Jones, which sent him to the bench with 5:05 left in the game and brought about a chorus of sustained boos for the officials.

The Razorbacks will return to action Saturday at noon with a game at LSU (15-4, 5-3) that will be televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.

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