Inside Game Productive For Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE -- There wasn't much question Arkansas benefited greatly from another good inside game Saturday.

And the end result was a relatively easy 80-50 win against Louisiana Tech in Bud Walton Arena in front of 13,557.

Arkansas forwards Charles Thomas and Darian Townes combined for 28 points and 8 rebounds to lead the inside assault.

"We just concentrated on executing," Thomas said. "Their top player is in the post ... (Chad) McKenzie, we tried to get him into foul trouble early.

"We knew he could give us problems. Offensively, we just tried to be aggressive and go to the boards, attack them and make something happen."

Thomas scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the first half and Townes scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

"I started out offensively and Darian Townes then picked us up," Thomas said. "That shows the kind of players we have on this team. He did a good job coming in and helping.

"That proves we have a lot of weapons."

A Strong Bench

Arkansas coach Stan Heath didn't hesitate to institute some wholesale substitutions Saturday.

Point guard Sean McCurdy was the first player off the bench when he replaced starter Gary Ervin with 15 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first half.

Less than two minutes later, Stefan Welsh, Vincent Hunter, Preston Cranford and Townes entered the game.

"We have a whole new starting five," Thomas said. "So, everybody can come in and contribute right away."

Eventually, 6-foot-10 Michael Washington, got into the act. He responded with four points and two rebounds while playing nine minutes.

"Yeah, as you could see Michael Washington did a great job," Thomas said. "As I said before, and I'll stand behind my statement, he could be a starter for us.

"Tonight, he showed a glimpse of what he can do."

Steady Performance

Ervin, at times criticized for being erratic this season, had a solid performance Saturday.

Ervin, a junior transfer from Mississippi State, scored 8 points, but more importantly, had 2 assists, 1 steal and only 2 turnovers in 23 minutes of playing time.

"I just did some things I try to do in practice," Ervin said. "I don't try to come in and try and force it in there. When I can make a pass, I'm trying hard to make it a good one.

"Basically, I took practice to the game. The last four days of practice we've been emphasizing stop turning the ball over and it starts with your point guard. And that's me."

Coming Attractions

Arkansas returns to the court at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday against Tulsa in Bud Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks open Southeastern Conference play, also at home, against Alabama at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday. Arkansas then goes on the road, first against defending national champion Florida on Jan. 9 and at Ole Miss on Jan. 13.

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