Paradise Won

All-Tournament selection Eric Ferguson pumps in 20 points off the bench and MVP Ronnie Brewer adds 18 as the University of Arkansas whips Eastern Michigan 82-64 Monday night in the finals of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

The Eagles did every calisthenic in their pregame routine from the hurdler's stretch to the downward facing dog, but they weren't nearly loose enough for what the Razorbacks would unleash on them during the championship game of the 2004 Paradise Jam.

Jonathon Modica added 14 and Charles Thomas, who collected two defensive boards, hit a fallaway as the shot clock expired and then stole a rebound after a missed free throw and laid it in to boost Arkansas back to a 74-54 lead.

"It was the third game (of the tournament), you could tell," Heath said. "It wasn't as crisp or clean as I'd like. Give credit to Eastern Michigan. A lot of experienced guys, gritty guys. They weren't going to pack it in.

"When we needed stops, or rebounds at a critical time, we got it."

Eastern Michigan was clearly the best team Arkansas has faced so far in this young season.

The Eagles were the first team the Razorbacks have played to have won a game, to have experience and an inside presence.

Arkansas' first two victims -- Winthrop and Troy -- lost three and five starters from last season's teams, and neither had an inside player like Eastern Michigan's John Bowler, who was averaging nearly a double-double through the first two games of the tournament.

Bowler, who fouled out with 13 points and 6 rebounds, got his second foul at the 7:14 mark of the first half and Arkansas went 10 minutes without allowing a field goal.

The Eagles hung around by making 28 of 36 free throws and showed that veteran character by coming back on Arkansas in a way its previous opponents didn't, but the Razorbacks never really lost control of the game despite a shaky period when they could have.

"We wanted to put a full 40 minute game together and jump on a team from the start," Brewer said. "We didn't want them to stay in the game.

"We controlled the game from the tip and we really didn't let go or let off of them."

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