Razorbacks Freshman Does A Lot Of Damage

FAYETTEVILLE --One had to pity the fool who tried to stop 6-foot-10, 250-pound Arkansas freshman center Darian Townes on Thursday night.

Dude did a lot of damage during his team's 96-68 win against Tennessee State in Bud Walton Arena.

He was a claims adjuster's worse nightmare.

At times, he was a one-man wrecking crew, leaving debris all over the court, including some cluttered stats.

Townes scored a game-high -- and his career high --20 points, had 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 24 career-high minutes.

"It was a breakout game for him," said Hogs freshman forward Charles Thomas. "He had some crushing dunks."

Want an example?

With 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the first half, Tennessee State's Roshaun Bowens, a scrawny 6-foot-6, 190 pounder, got abused by Townes.

Townes converted a perfect feed from Razorbacks guard Ronnie Brewer and shoved a thunderous dunk past the skinny Bowens to the absolute delight of 14,358 rowdy fans.

After the sensational slam, Bowens was called for a foul and the place went bonkers.

"I was kind of looking forward to dunking on somebody," Townes said. "That's what I wanted to do tonight. I took my time on it.

"It was a really good play."

After the damaging dunk, Townes pushed out his torso, pumped his arms, twirled around and chest bumped teammate Eric Ferguson.

Immediately Brewer screamed -- almost at the top of his lungs -- and extended his hand for a king-sized hand slap as Townes approached the foul line.

Townes missed the free-throw attempt.

Gulp!

"I kind of got too happy," Townes said. "I should have concentrated more before going to the line.

"I was pumped."

Ya think?

"No doubt, he was fired up," said junior guard Eric Ferguson. "I like to see that stuff.

"Oh yeah, I remember that play."

And there were plenty others, like taking a pass from Razorbacks guard Jonathon Modica and planting it through the nets with less than three minutes left.

"He was aggressive on the offensive and defensive ends," Modica said. "It was good to see a freshman step up and play big. He had a big, big game.

"I'm proud of him."

So was Razorbacks coach Stan Heath.

"Once he got into a groove, he looked very comfortable out there," Heath said. "He was a man inside tonight.

"He gave us a lift."

So, what happened?

"I don't know," Townes said. "I was just making shots I had worked on in practice. I really didn't do anything different. Everything I did was what I have worked on before.

"I think one of the keys was beating my man down the floor. Things just came through.

"I was feeling it."

In the first half, Townes had 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting in 14 minutes.

"In the first half, when I got my first two shots, I was kind of getting the feel of it," Townes said. "I kind of got with it from there."

His previous best game came in the home opener during Arkansas' 79-63 win against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 27. In that game, he had 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the floor.

"He's only going to get better," Ferguson said. "By the time Southeastern Conference play begins, he's going to do a lot of damage."

Well put.

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