Hogs Rebound In Big Way

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas 6-foot-10 center Darian Townes stepped around Daniel Hayles, tipped an entry pass intended for the 6-5 Auburn guard, recovered and looked down at Hayles with a smirk that said, "Not today, little man."

The Razorbacks snapped a four-game losing streak and exorcised the frustration from Wednesday night's controversial overtime loss at LSU with a 95-59 drubbing of the undersized and often helpless Tigers before 19,162 in Bud Walton Arena on Saturday.

Arkansas (14-5, 2-4 in Southeastern Conference) won for the first time since beating Ole Miss 69-46 on Jan. 5 and spread a 25-6 run across both halves to turn a tie game into a rout.

After knocking off Auburn (9-8, 0-4), Arkansas has an open week to prepare for No. 8 Kentucky and a national CBS broadcast from Fayetteville next Saturday.

Sophomore Ronnie Brewer tied his career high with 23 points to lead five Razorbacks in double figures and junior Eric Ferguson helped put the clamps on SEC-leading scorer Toney Douglas, who scored 8 points -- well below his 19.8 average -- on 3 of 13 shooting.

The 95 points were the most in an SEC game under third-year Arkansas coach Stan Heath and the 36-point margin of victory was the second-largest ever to a 115-58 win against Mississippi State in 1993.

Arkansas' total was the most in an SEC game since a 104-88 defeat of then-No. 2 Auburn in 1999.

The dominating victory made a distant memory out of the controversy over whether or not Mike Jones' final basket of regulation was the game-winning 3-pointer or the game-tying 2 it was ruled to be.

"This was a good win," Heath said. "I thought it was as well as we've played in a while. I was pleased with how our team responded to adversity and the early stretch of the game when they were hitting 3s."

The Tigers hit five of their first seven 3-point attempts and tied the score at 31 after a Frank Tolbert trey with 5:56 to play in the first half, but Arkansas held Auburn to 5 of its next 22 from outside and had a 35-28 lead in rebounding to dominate the paint.

Led by Townes' 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the floor and 5 of 6 from the foul line, Arkansas got 40 points in the paint to Auburn's 14 and the Razorbacks' reserves outscored the Tigers' bench 27-7.

Ian Young led Auburn with 16 on 5 of 19 shooting and Nathan Watson added 15 (5 of 8) while Quinnel Brown and Tolbert fouled out with a combined 12 points.

Both Young and Watson were ridden hard by the Arkansas student section, who made baby noises at Young for complaining about calls and "airball" chants at Watson for two iron-free misses in the second half.

Arkansas shot 54.2 percent from the field (32 of 59), 78.6 percent from the foul line (22 of 28) and committed 8 turnovers to 19 assists, led by Ferguson's 6 assists and zero giveaways.

"We had a lot of positives in this game," Heath said.

The Razorbacks' pressure started getting to the Tigers' legs late in the first half when Brewer scored six quick points on a long jumper, a stickback off a Townes miss and a pair of free throws to put Arkansas up 45-33 at intermission.

"We can't sustain anything," said first-year Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, who starts five guards and plays two more off the bench. "We wear down. They pounded it inside on us. We got them in a tough situation because of their game at LSU. They were ready to play.

"We just don't have a lot of answers for them inside."

After hitting 10 of its first 21 shots, Auburn went 1 of 8 in the final six minutes of the first half and didn't score in the second half until Arkansas was up 51-33.

"Once we made them miss a few (3-point attempts), they started hesitating and we made them miss," said Brewer, who also led Arkansas with 7 rebounds and 4 steals. "We're a deep team. We knew if we kept bringing the pressure, it would wear them down at the end."

Olu Famutimi scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half on 4 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 2 from the 3-point line.

Jones followed up Wednesday's 15-point effort with 10 against Auburn.

Jonathon Modica scored 12 off the bench on 4 of 6 shooting in 21 minutes.

"We played unselfish, like I know we can play," Modica said.

After allowing Florida, Alabama and Mississippi State to shoot 48 percent or better, Arkansas held its second straight opponent to less than 37 percent from the field and the Hog scored 27 points off 18 Auburn turnovers.

Douglas was harassed relentlessly by Ferguson, who set the tone early when Douglas cut in front of him to steal the opening tap. Douglas tried to drive and score, but Ferguson blocked his layup attempt and Lebo said his freshman sharpshooter didn't handle the pressure well.

"Welcome to the league," Lebo said. "They don't call a lot of that banging and he had a tough time responding to it."

Ferguson said denying his favorite looks was the key to stopping Douglas, who has four 30-point games this season but didn't score until six minutes into the second half when he made a steal and a layup to make it 58-41.

"It was a real frustrating game," Douglas said. "It was a bad game for us all around. We had some good looks but didn't make them. They played pretty good defense, and being on the road, it was tough."

The second half didn't start well for Auburn as Townes hit a jumper, Ferguson made a steal before feeding Brewer for a dunk, Famutimi had a steal and dunk, Ferguson drained a 3 and Famutimi was on the spot to grab a loose ball for an easy layup and a 56-37 lead.

Even offensively-challenged freshman center Steven Hill got into the act against Auburn's small lineup by hitting a pair of hook shots to really get the crowd going.

Auburn missed 3-pointer after 3-pointer while Arkansas hit 5 of 8 from outside in the second half and punctuated the win with a dunk by Razorbacks receiver/power forward Marcus Monk, who threw down a tomahawk slam on the fast break after a Dontell Jefferson steal.

Arkansas is off today and Ferguson said the Hogs will enjoy it.

"It's nice to win, especially on the weekend," he said. "You get to enjoy the weekend. But we have to get right back to work."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories