Refreshed Razorbacks Roll Over Golden Eagles

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas didn't expect to have much trouble beating Southern Mississippi in Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday night.

And it didn't.

Clearly, the Razorbacks didn't have to break a sweat en route to a 77-35 win against the Golden Eagles in front on 10,103 fans.

Basically, this was just a snapshot of how Arkansas improved from its last game when it looked like it was sleepwalking in a 75-55 win against Radford last Saturday.

That, of course, was a direct result of coming back to play too soon after a trip to Hawaii in the Maui Invitational.

On Wednesday night, Arkansas looked like it had recovered nicely from its cosmetic surgery.

"I think we had a couple of good days of practice," said Arkansas guard Ronnie Brewer. "We were able to recover from the Maui trip. We wanted to get out there and get after them."

Razorbacks point guard Dontell Jefferson, who had eight assists Wednesday night, nodded.

"I think we did play a lot better than the last time," Jefferson said. "We were still tired and really didn't have our legs because we had just returned from Hawaii.

"I think you could tell the difference tonight."

When it was all said and done, Brewer was again the marquee player, who got things headed in the right direction.

"I was really pleased with what Ronnie did tonight," said Razorbacks coach Stan Heath. "It was not just his scoring. He played well defensively ... he got us going scoring-wise early, did what he had to do to get us a good lead, then focused on his teammates."

Brewer wound up with a game-high 16 points, had 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 29 minutes. He put an exclamation mark on his brilliant first half by burying a 23 footer at the buzzer.

Brewer lit a fire under the Razorbacks early and often in the first half. He almost couldn't miss.

He had 15 points, 2 assists and 3 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. That was accomplished by Brewer hitting 6 of 9 floor shots, including 3 of 5 on 3-point attempts.

"I wanted to be aggressive like I have been all year," Brewer said. "Coach wanted us to make better decisions. I just got some open looks early in the game and my shots were dropping. "I think I was just fortunate to do it."

Jefferson said he wasn't surprised Brewer took charge so early.

"Ronnie was just being Ronnie," Jefferson said. "Ronnie not only scored a lot of early points but he was aggressive on the boards and played tough defense.

"He moved his feet well and got open for those shots."

Arkansas flirted with putting this one in the deep freeze late in the first half when it went on a 13-3 run and went in front 27-16 on back-back-to-back 3-point shots from Brewers and Modica.

Brewer drilled a 21 footer through the nets with 8 minutes, 31 seconds left before halftime, then scored on another 3-pointer with 7:24 left before the break and Modica followed that with a trey with 6:39 left before halftime.

Arkansas was sitting pretty with a 39-21 lead at the break. In that half, the Razorbacks shot 60 percent from the floor and 50 percent (6 of 12) on 3-point attempts.

"I thought we played a lot better than last time out," Razorbacks center Steven Hill said. "I think you could tell we weren't as tired as last time after playing in Hawaii.

"Tonight, we had our legs."

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