Arkansas Plays Well Enough To Win

FAYETTEVILLE -- At times, Arkansas looked like a basketball team suffering from a Hawaiian hangover.

There were times the Razorbacks showed signs of having jet lag, sleepwalking and standing around with their eyes at half-staff.

It probably was a direct result of Arkansas having played in the Maui Invitational earlier in the week.

Still, even in a zombie-like state, Arkansas was able to handle Radford University 75-55 in a real snoozer in Bud Walton Arena on Saturday.

"We kind of expected this might happen," said Razorbacks junior guard Ronnie Brewer, who had a season-low 16 points. "I think there was a little fatigue involved today. I'm not trying to make excuses. We were a little tired, but we knew we had to step it up.

"We did OK."

That's about all one could say about this nonconference win against Radford in front of 9,928 fans, who were anxious to see how the Razorbacks would react to changing planes and changing time zones so often in the past week.

"It wasn't pretty, but it was a win," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "I was worried about this game from the beginning. I knew our focus and our legs would be questionable.

"Even two, three weeks ago, looking at the schedule, I kind of kicked myself, saying, 'Man this isn't enough time to come back and play a game.' Not after you come back from a trip to Maui.

"Give Radford credit. They played hard. We knew they weren't going to lie down."

Arkansas put away the Highlanders early with a heaping helping of domination inside, getting 44 points in the paint.

However, the Razorbacks only outrebounded Radford 46-42. Arkansas also had more turnovers (15) than Radford (12).

"Coach is always emphasizing the game starts from the inside out," said forward Charles Thomas. "I thought the guys outside did a good job of getting the ball inside to us early.

"We could have done a better job for the whole game."

Razorbacks guard Jonathon  Modica scored a high-season 22 points while backcourt sidekick Dontell Jefferson dished out eight assists. In addition to his 16 points, Brewer had 5 assists and 4 rebounds.

Thomas had 12 points and 7 rebounds while interior teammate Darian Townes also had 7 rebounds to go along with 8 points.

Radford, which shot a miserable 24.6 percent from the floor, had three players in double figures. Whit Holcomb-Faye led the Highlanders with 18 points. Chris Oliver had 13 and Reggie McIntyre had 12.

"We played well enough to beat a team in a convincing way," Modica said. "I hope we will continue to start streaking from here. Coach Heath jumped on us at halftime because we weren't playing as well as we are capable of playing.

"We all felt that way."

Arkansas (3-2) led Radford (3-2) 33-16 at the break, basically because it shot 46.7 percent from the floor, despite Brewer hitting only 1 of 7 shots, and the Hogs being 0-for-9 on 3-point attempts.

"Coach Heath challenged me at halftime," Brewer said. "I had to step it up in the second half."

Brewer ended up hitting 6 of 15 -- he was 2 of 5 on 3-point attempts -- from the field and scoring 13 second-half points.

Arkansas opened up with a 10-0 run before Radford called time. In the second half, the Razorbacks led by as much as 28 points.

Radford refused to roll over and even had a nifty 13-0 run with about six minutes left in the game to cut the Arkansas lead to 64-47.

"I am proud of my team," said Radford coach Byron Samuels. "We competed against all the elements, including this being a road game, the crowd and a good Arkansas team.

"We continued to battle and didn't quit."

Neither did the Razorbacks, who were finally able to shake off all the rust.

"We kind of woke up in the second half," Modica said. "We weren't the dominant team we should have been. We just have to get better as a team, need to have more of a commitment to do that.

"We've got to step it up. "




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