Arkansas Punishes Panthers

FAYETTEVILLE -- Eric Ferguson doesn't feel the least bit sorry for Prairie View A&M.

Arkansas' junior guard took his share of beatings the last two seasons while the Razorbacks were rebuilding and he figured Saturday was a good time to return the favor.

The Panthers didn't have anything to do with Arkansas' 35 losses in 56 games over the previous two seasons, but they paid the price in a 102-50 defeat before 11,648 in Bud Walton Arena.

"When I was a freshman and we didn't have a good team, every team jumped on us," Ferguson said. "I say, ‘Yo, now that we have a good team, we're going to jump on every team because they would do it to us.'"

Arkansas will get another chance to jump on someone when Lipscomb visits Bud Walton Arena on Monday.

"We have to have this attitude that we're the team that's hunting and that can't change," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath.

The only real suspense in this game was when Arkansas (8-1) would reach 100 points and if Prairie View (0-7) could reach 50 for just the third time this season.

Senior Mike Jones' 3-pointer with 39.4 seconds remaining lifted Arkansas past the 100-point barrier for the first time in Heath's three-seasons tenure and since a 121-66 win against Grambling State in 2000.

Arkansas scored an even 100 to Maryland Eastern Shore's 40 on Jan. 2, 2001.

The Razorbacks shot 48 percent from the field, 66.7 percent from the 3-point line and had their best game of the season from the free-throw line, hitting 22 of 27 (81.5 percent).

Arkansas outrebounded Prairie View A&M 59-30 and held the Panthers to 28.9 percent (19 of 66) from the field. The Panthers were the second team Arkansas has held below 30 percent in its last three games.

Missouri hit only 29.8 percent in its 62-52 loss to Arkansas on Dec. 7 in Columbia.

The Razorbacks scored 34 points off 24 Prairie View turnovers, notched 54 points in the paint, aided by 29 second-chance points.

In a game in which Arkansas could have easily just gone through the motions on its way to a win, the Razorbacks played with intensity and focus for the most part against the winless Panthers.

"I really feel like our guys came out very focused and didn't have any letdowns," Heath said. "They played pretty good basketball. Sometimes the greatest challenge is against yourself.

"That was the theme of the day: ‘Let's make sure we can look in the mirror and know we played basketball the right way and did the things we've been working on.'"

The Razorbacks were led in scoring for the second straight game by freshman center Darian Townes, who followed up his career-high 20 points against Tennessee State on Thursday with a 16-point effort to tie guard Ronnie Brewer for game-high honors.

Townes also set new career-highs in blocks (6) and rebounds (7), and made both free-throw attempts after making only 4 of 15 coming into the game.

"I think I'm playing real good," Townes said. "My confidence is coming real strong. I'm not rushing as much. I'm letting the game come to me."

After going 10 of 13 against Tennessee State, Townes was 7 of 11 against Prairie View and he showed a repertoire of moves, from turnarounds to jumpers to follow-up slams.

"He's hitting every shot, playing aggressive and blocking shots," said sophomore Olu Famutimi, who scored 9 points and snared 7 rebounds. "He deserves everything he's getting on the court."

Arkansas had five players in double figures with 12 from freshman forward Charles Thomas and 10 each from junior guard Jonathon Modica and freshman center Steven Hill, who improved his career-high point total by one.

Hill was one off his career-high in blocks with 5 to pad Arkansas' season-high 13 rejections for the game.

Modica, who tied his career highs with 8 rebounds and 4 assists, also continued to get back in the offensive flow with his first double-digit scoring game since 14 in the championship game of the Paradise Jam against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 22.

In his first extended action of the season, freshman forward Marcus Monk grabbed 7 rebounds and snatched 3 steals in 19 minutes.

Monk was one of four players with 7 rebounds along with Townes, Famutimi and junior Rashard Sullivan, who threw a sweet behind-the-back pass for a slam by Famutimi to put Arkansas ahead 33-12 in the first half.

Jones, another player Heath wanted to get more minutes, scored a season-high 8 points and collected 4 rebounds.

"(Modica) looked like himself," Heath said. "He had a smile on his face, too. He wasn't pressing and stressing out there on the court.

"Mike Jones got in a better flow and Marcus Monk was out there long enough to get his second wind."

Arkansas led by as many as 27 in the first half but allowed the Panthers to creep within 51-32 following three Razorbacks turnovers to start the second half.

Heath called a timeout, Ferguson hit consecutive 3-pointers and Brewer dunked in transition to spark a 20-5 run.


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