Razorbacks Sophomore Jump-Starts Offense

FAYETTEVILLE -- Statistically, it seems Arkansas sophomore swingman Olu Famutimi runs hot and cold.

And for only a half.

Usually the numbers give significant evidence to that theory.

Things didn't change much during Arkansas' 95-59 win against Auburn in front of 19,162 fans in Bud Walton Arena on Saturday.

Yeah, maybe the arithmetic is sometimes lopsided -- Famutimi scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half Saturday -- but Razorbacks coach Stan Heath wasn't bellyaching about it.

In fact, he flashed his pearly whites and giggled when the subject was broached.

"I didn't even know," Heath said. "Did he do the half thing again?"

Heath actually hadn't noticed.

Why?

"What I like about Olu," Heath said. "He really is a very good defensive player. He's good at guarding his guy.

"Does it bother me he sticks up the threes and dunks all the time? In some ways, yes, and in some ways, no, because he's shooting a good percentage. I'd like to see him do a little bit more and I think that time's going to come."

Famutimi made his return to the starting lineup Saturday -- he was on the bench to start the game for the first time this season at LSU on Wednesday night -- and wasted little time in turning on the offensive faucet.

"I think I got his attention a little bit when I didn't start him," Heath said. Obviously.

In the first half, Famutimi played 12 minutes, was 4 of 5 from the floor and was 2 of 2 on 3-point attempts. He finished with 6 of 9 shooting, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc in 23 minutes on the floor.

It was his ninth time in double figures and it was the most points he's scored since he tied his season high of 17 in an 85-43 win against Louisiana-Monroe on New Year's Eve.

In Wednesday's 66-63 overtime loss against LSU, Famutimi scored 13 points in 21 minutes of playing time on 5 of 8 shooting, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range.

"I felt pretty good today," he said. "I did pretty good in the last game and I just did well in practice and I was able to get back into the starting lineup.

"It feels real good."

With Arkansas finally able to jam it inside in the second half, Famutimi's jumpers weren't as necessary as they had been.

Still he contributed in other ways.

Want some examples?

• With 18 minutes, 22 seconds left in the game, he stole the ball from Auburn's Ian Young near midcourt and punctuated that with a one-handed slam dunk to lift Arkansas in front 51-33.

• With 16:07 left, Famutimi followed up a Darian Townes miss with a play developed solely on shear hustle.

"He's just a hard worker," said Razorbacks guard Eric Ferguson. "He's been working hard since day one Offensively, he didn't do a lot point-wise in the second half but he hit some big shots to get us going."

Indeed.

With 7:32 left before halftime, Famutimi's 3-pointer nudged the Razorbacks in front 29-28. His second trey put Arkansas in front 34-31 with 5:21 showing on the first-half clock.

"It was good for him to get us started early," Townes said. "He's a good player, he just has to work on a couple of things. A lot of us have to work on some things."

Famutimi said his work started Wednesday night.

"Not starting kind of helped me," he said. "I got a chance to sit back and relax and learn from watching.

"I think it was a good thing."

Famutimi, who also had 2 rebounds and 4 assists Saturday, realized he could have had a more productive offensive game.

Clearly, that wasn't part of the total objective.

"Since our big guys were scoring more inside and we went more to the post," Famutimi said. "Really, we didn't have to rely so much on our outside shooting.

"That was nice."






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