Arkansas Rolls To Ninth Victory

FAYETTEVILLE -- Trailing by 32 with less than five minutes to play against Arkansas, Lipscomb guard Brian Fisk tried to get cute on the Razorbacks.

Fisk had just made his first and only basket of the second half and tried to throw an alley-oop from halfcourt after an Arkansas miss.

Fisk must have thought he was still playing Division III Rust College, who the gramatically incorrect Bisons beat 103-82 on Saturday.

Six-foot-one junior guard Eric Ferguson soared high in the air, snatched the pass and started a fast break the other way to Olu Famutimi, who snapped the ball to Dontell Jefferson for a reverse layup and a 73-49 Razorbacks lead.

Ferguson's play was one of the final highlights of Arkansas' 83-54 trampling of the outmatched Bisons (6-2) before 11,289 in Bud Walton Arena on Monday.

"I was surprised," said sophomore Ronnie Brewer of Fisk's alley-oop try. "They were out there trying to talk noise and they were down 30 points and they were running their mouths.

"I didn't understand that."

What's easy to understand is that Arkansas (9-1) is off to its best start in 10 years and as third-year coach Stan Heath put it after the game, the Razorbacks are "doing it the way it should be done."

Arkansas, which plays again Thursday against Hartford before Christmas break, held its sixth opponent in 10 games to 20 field goals or less, held its seventh opponent below 40 percent shooting and scored 30 points off 21 turnovers.

Lipscomb jumped on Arkansas early by hitting 5 of 10 shots mainly from the outside and led 14-10 with 13 minutes, 4 seconds to play in the first half.

The Razorbacks started switching on Lipscomb's guard screens to shore up their defense and went on a 38-10 run to close the half led 13 first-half points by Famutimi and a series of highlight-reel plays by Brewer, who finished with 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.

Arkansas held Lipscomb to 15 of 45 from the field in the final 33 minutes, won the rebounding battle 35-34 and had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio for the third straight game and the fourth time this season.

Fisk had 16 points in the first half but was limited to two points on 1 of 5 shooting in the second.

Freshman Darian Townes continued to sizzle with 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting. Townes has averaged 17 points in his last three games while shooting 23 of 34 (67.6 percent) from the field.

Junior Jonathon Modica had his best game of the season with 16 points in 18 minutes on 6 of 9 shooting, including a 3 of 4 night from 3-point range.

After going 1 of 7 on 3-pointers in the first seven games, Modica has hit 6 of 8 in the last three.

"When we play with a lot of passion, we get energized and make things happen," Heath said. "I really like our defense. It's hard to get a good look at the rim. We're able to cover up for each other's mistakes.

"They're starting to play very well together out there."

Arkansas claimed the lead with three three-point plays.

Townes hit a 15-foot jumper and converted a free throw that bounced on the top of the backboard twice before falling in, Modica hit a 3-pointer in transition and converted three-point play when fouled on an alley-oop tossed by Brewer for an 18-14 lead.

Lipscomb missed 8 of its next 10 shots and Arkansas took what it wanted from the Bisons.

Brewer stripped Lipscomb guard Brandon Hartwell and dunked, Famutimi ripped the ball from Fisk after he pump-faked four times and Brewer made the play of the night when he took an outlet pass, crossed over Hartwell, spun and dunked it in his face for a 35-21 lead.

Two minutes later, Brewer jumped in the passing lane and went coast-to-coast for another slam to double up Lipscomb, 44-22.

With the clock ticking under a minute before halftime, Heath yelled at Brewer to get a quick shot to give Arkansas another possession before halftime.

Brewer dribbled around for an opening and hit a 17-foot pull-up jumper and nearly hit a turnaround heave from 35 feet just before the buzzer.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore from Fayetteville kept it going after intermission by hitting a 22-foot 3-pointer to start the scoring.

Brewer then tipped the ball off Fisk's leg for a turnover, collected an offensive rebound and hit a fallaway baseline jumper for a 53-24 lead.

"We ran something, I don't know, but it broke down and the ball is in his hand and he sticks a 22-foot 3-pointer to start the half," Heath said. "He made some defensive plays, some steals and dunks that got our fans into the game.

"He's a special player. He's very special."

Ferguson made two quick baskets, one off a fast-break steal and lay-in and another off a long outlet keyed by a Famutimi rebound.

Lipscomb, meanwhile, scored one point, committed four turnovers in the first four minutes and trailed 57-25 at the first media timeout.

Townes blocked Lipscomb's next shot coming out of the timeout, but lost the ball trying to kick it out.

Fisk recovered and drove to the paint, but Townes came from out of bounds, gathered himself and swatted the attempt to elicit another roar from the crowd.

"We're doing what we're supposed to do," Heath said. "It's a pleasant surprise for me."

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