Arkansas 71, Mississippi 58

Jonathon Modica has 20 points, Ronnie Brewer 19, Darian Townes 13 and Dontell Jefferson dishes out 9 assists and Steven Hill blocks 5 shots as Arkansas runs over Ole Miss 71-58 before 18,121 fans Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

This time the drought was on the other foot so to speak.

Jonathon  Modica had a season-high 20 points and Ronnie Brewer added 19 as the University of Arkansas took full advantage of Ole Miss' nearly seven-minute, first-half scoring drought and went on to down the Rebels 71-58 Wednesday night before 18,121 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

"I just really loved the effort our team came out with tonight, especially on the defensive end, which was where we won this game," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "We fed off the crowd defensively and turned it into easy baskets against a very good, hard-nosed team."

Darian Townes added 13 points and 4 blocks, Mississippi native Charles Thomas 8 points, Dontell Jefferson 9 assists and Steven Hill 6 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks as the Razorbacks (14-5, 3-3) won their third game in four SEC contests and got back to .500 in SEC play after an 0-2 start.

The Razorbacks shot 53 percent from the field and 72 percent from the line, dished out 21 asissts while having 12 turnvoers and forcing 17 and blocked 10 shots while holding Ole Miss to 40 percent shooting from the floor.

"We feel good about this because we knew it would be hard fought," Townes said. "We knew they weren't going to give us easy buckets and go tough inside. We're pumped and we're motivated. We're getting a good start in games and controlling the tempo from the start." It was the Razorbacks' third straight win in the series and gave them a 15-14 lead in the series since SEC play began between the two.

It also was only the second time that Arkansas has won consecutive SEC games since doing so in Heath's first year in 2002-2003 when they won at Vanderbilt and at home against Mississippi State.

Clarence Sanders had 12 points and Dwayne Curtis 10 to lead Ole Miss (13-5, 3-2), who lost for the second time after jumping out to a surprising 3-0 start in league play.

"I thought we played well," Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes said. "I thought we played the way we needed to in order for us to win in Fayetteville in the first 10 minutes of the game. But they changed defenses well and that really affected us."

The turning point in the first half when Sanders - a junior college transfer who chose Ole Miss over Arkansas - hit a 3-pointer from the corner while a foul was called.

But Sanders had kicked his leg out on the shot and was called for the foul instead of being fouled and that kept the Rebels from taking at least a 22-17 lead with 8:24 left in the first.

"I thought I was gonna get the call, but the ref said I stuck my leg out and created the contact," Sanders said. Instead Arkansas went on a 16-0 run as Ole Miss failed to score for over seven minutes.

Hill's slam dunk tied the game and started the spree that was capped by Townes' lay-up that pushed the Razorbacks ahead 33-19 with 2:54 remaining before intermission.

Brewer's jumper and Mississippi native Cyrus McGowan's free throw capped the first half scoring and sent Arkansas to the break with a 36-21 lead.

"They got the momentum and got us back on our heels," Ole Miss guard Todd Abernathy said. "They got some steals due to their great length and that was the difference."

That lead grew to its largest margin at 43-25 when Hill swatted yet another block and Modica ended up on the other end with a lay-up with the clock showing 17:41 on it.

It was back there again on Brewer's lay-up that made it 49-31 a few minutes later.

OIe Miss did make a run and cut it to 10 when Clarence Sanders buried a 3-pointer with 7:42 remaining, but could not get any closer the rest of the way.

Arkansas pushed it back to 18 one more time on Jefferson's pair of free throws that boosted it to 71-53 with 2:47 left.

"We just tried to play the same way we have been playing all season," Brewer said. "We kept attacking the basket like we did at Auburn. Coach (Heath) said it was must win to get ourselves back in the SEC West picture. We knew out defense was going to be there like it has all season."

The Rebels' four Arkansans combined for 17 points with Gosnell's Jeremy Parnell having 8, Little Rock's Bam Doyne 8, Jacksonville's Mike Smith scoring two and Brandon Patterson also playing, but not cashing in.

Ole Miss will host SEC West-leading LSU on Saturday while Arkansas travels to Kentucky.

"I'm ready for it," Brewer said. "It's a big stage on CBS. We've struggled with Kentucky while I've been here and we're going to try and go there and change that."

Darian Townes grabs a rebound during Arkansas' 71-53 win over Ole Miss Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

Razorback head coach Stan Heath give instructions to his team during the win.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories