Cooler Heads Prevail Early In Title Game

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- From now on, whenever two players stand toe to toe, it will be hard not to think of the Detroit-Indiana brawl from Friday night.

Nothing like that happened Monday night at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center, but Arkansas junior forward Rashard Sullivan did have some words with Eastern Michigan's James Jackson after an early play.

Sullivan was trying to take a charge against Michael Ross and was knocked backward under the goal. Another Eagle came flying in to try a follow slam and landed on Sullivan's leg when he came down.

Sullivan pushed the player off and Jackson got in his face. The players were quickly separated and the two high-fived before play resumed.

"I don't know what happened," Sullivan said. "He came down and I was pushing him off. He fell on my leg and I wanted to make sure he didn't break something. I guess they took it the wrong way."

Sullivan said the Razorbacks hadn't talked much about the ugly Pistons-Pacers brawl other than to express disbelief at what happened.

"What can you say?" Sullivan said. "Yeah I saw it. Wow."

Sullivan said there's better ways than fists to get even with opponents.

"I'm not going to allow anybody to punk our team," Sullivan said. "I'm not going to allow anyone to beat us up and not retaliate, but retaliate in a sensible manner. I'm not going to throw a fist or something like that. I'm going to retaliate by turning up the intensity and take them on."

Arkansas went on a 7-0 run to go from 5-4 down to up 11-5 and never looked back en route to its third straight comfortable win, which of course is the best revenge.

Arkansas rewrote the Paradise Jam record book.

The Razorbacks' 25.3 margin of victory was a tournament record, as was their 81.0 points per game scoring average.

Arkansas set the three-game record for blocks with 24, shattering the 2001 Miami team's record of 14.

Arkansas 7-foot freshman center Steven Hill broke the tournament blocks record for an individual with 10 in three games, besting the 7 by James Johnson of Miami in 2001.

It wasn't immediately available, but it was believed Arkansas' 30.2 field goal percentage defense was also a tournament record.

Junior guard Eric Ferguson made a valuable play early in the first half when he got a steal, drove for a layup and saw Eastern Michigan's John Bowler coming at him. Bowler had been averaging nearly a double-double in his two previous games and Arkansas knew it had to get him in foul trouble.

Ferguson changed his angle to the basket slightly and absorbed the contact at the 15:46 mark. Eight minutes later, Bowler was on the bench and Arkansas was in the middle of a 10-minute stretch holding the Eagles without a field goal.

"We know he was their best player," Ferguson said. "We knew if we got him in foul trouble, it would be hard for them to play. That's what I tried to do."

Arkansas' fans met their match from Eastern Michigan's Monday night.

The Razorback faithful brought their usual Hog Calls and the Eagle contingent elected to fill empty water bottles with spare change.

At least 20 Eastern Michigan fans had the noisemakers and some decided it was good school spirit to shake them on the safari bus for the 30-minute ride from the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort to UVI.

They tried to drown out the Razorback cheers early, but the Arkansas fans had some help from some local high school students who looked like they had tried to learn the Hog call since Arkansas has been on the island.

They got the fingers waving in the air and the, 'Wooooo' part right, but that was about it.

Of course, there's not much else to the Hog call, anyway.

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