Arkansas 77, Southern Miss 35

Ronnie Brewer has 16 points and Jonathon Modica and Darian Townes 14 each as Arkansas downs Southern Mississippi 77-35 Wednesday night before 10,013 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

Reminiscent of his dad back in the day, Ronnie Brewer's spinning 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer put a dagger in the heart of Southern Mississippi on Wednesday night.

Of course, one could say that was just a momentary break of the Golden Eagles shooting themselves in the foot.

Brewer tossed in 15 of his 16 points in the first half as the University of Arkansas rolled a struggling Southern Miss 77-35 before 10,013 fans at Bud Walton Arena and a Fox Sports Net national television audience.

"I thought we really played very well tonight," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "Three big things that stood out to me are we defended very, very well throughout the whole game for 40 minutes: we kept playing hard all the way through with a lot of hustle and a lot of guys diving on the floor, rotating to make blocks and taking charges: and I also felt like we passed the ball very well. Guys were setting up their teammates and making an extra pass and we shot the ball really well."

Southern Miss head coach Larry Eustachy, the former Iowa State coach, praised Arkansas profusely after the game.

"I think Arkansas is really good," Eustachy said. "I am a huge fan of Stan and what he does and how they play. Obviously they came out and took us a lot more serious than Radford and put it to us.

"I think it is a team that could win their side of the league," Eustachy added. 'They have the guard play, they have the length and they are able to score easy, which obviously we are just the opposite...I think this (Arkansas) is a top 20 team that we just played against and certainly an NCAA team. I can tell Stan is guardedly optimistic."

Jonathon  Modica and Darian Townes each added 14 and Vincent Hunter 10 and Dontell Jefferson 8 assists and no turnovers for Arkansas (4-2), who took a 39-21 lead on Brewer's buzzer beater.

The Razorbacks and never looked back en route to a win over a program that has scored 35 points or less three times already this season.

"You're going to think I am crazy, but in spite of the score I am rally optimistic about our team," Eustachy said. "We had a bunch of young guys out there...I understand why this is happening, I accept it and I really like it. I wouldn't rather be at any other place right now where I am right now at Southern. It is a great place for me at this time in my life.

"I don't think you saw me get kicked out of the game tonight or go nuts on the officials," Eustachy continued while joking. "I did ask the (security) guard behind me if I could borrow his gun for a minute. I told him I won't shoot it, I just want to threaten my players to quit turning the ball over. "

Arkansas shot over 60 percent percent from the field until late- ending with a 58.3 mark overall , netted 50 percent from 3-point range (8-of-16) and had just 9 turnovers while forcing the Golden Eagles (1-4) into 25 percent shooting and 18 miscues.

Eustachy said that's just the way it is going against his team.

"When we zone, we really help teams get out of their slump," Eustachy joked. "Trust me. You might as well just count it. We thought we could zone them, but their stats this year doesn't indicate as good a shooters as they really are."

He had two new starters on Wednesday night.

"We just kind of put everybody's name in there and shake it and the five that come out, that's who we start," Eustachy joked.

Southern Miss, which has scored less than double digits in two halves this season, actually tied the game 11-11 on Courtney Beasley's lay-up at the 12:01 mark.

But then Arkansas heated up while hitting four of their six first-half 3-pointers - two each by Brewer and Modica - and then stormed ahead 36-18 on Charles Thomas' dunk with 2:32 left before intermission.

"After we got the rest from Maui, we were fully recovered and we came out here with a lot of energy," noted Arkansas sophomore center Steven Hill, who had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 of his team's 8 blocks.

Brewer, whose dad Ron made several buzzer-beating shots during his Razorback career, then capped his first-half barrage right after Southern Miss turned the ball over with 1.7 seconds left.

He took an in-bounds pass from Jefferson just beyond the top of the key and swished the turnaround.

"I just tried to get a good shot up and it happen to go in," Brewer said.

Although the Razorbacks struggled offensively out of the gate after intermission, four straight Jefferson passes to Townes resulted in a quartet of baskets and two charity tosses for a 51-24 advantage with just over 14 minutes remaining.

Shawn Simpson's basket with 6:23 remaining did get the Golden Eagles to the 30-point mark, but Hunter's 3-pointer pushed the Razorbacks lead to 67-30 with just over five minutes left.

Hunter, a 6-10 forward with 3-point range, added an acrobatic lay-up to make it 72-32 soon afterwards.

"Vincent Hunter had a lot of energy tonight and I was impressed with his 10 points," Heath said. "He had some good put-back shots. He gives us a different dimension when he is on the court."

Arkansas, whose losses this season been to No. 3 UConn and No. 20 Maryland, will try to keep it rolling Friday night when it hosts Missouri in a 7:05 p.m. game that will be the first of five games televised by ARSN.

"I am sure our fans will be very fired up about that and I am sure our guys will be excited about playing Missouri," Heath said. "They know that is a program that has had success throughout the years. I think there is a little bit of a border state rivalry from the past that is continuing on."

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