Townes Brings Energy And A Nice Highlight

FAYETTEVILLE -- In a matter of five seconds, Darian Townes managed to do everything Arkansas coach John Pelphrey could have asked for from the senior.

Townes swatted Wofford guard Drew Gibson's ill-faded jumper, then grabbed the loose ball and raced downcourt as the final seconds ticked off the first half of Friday night's season opener in Bud Walton Arena.

Townes jumped from inside the paint and threw down a two-handed dunk a second before the halftime buzzer sounded.

The play served as a burst of energy that was noticeably lacking in the first half of No. 19 Arkansas' sloppy 67-45 win in front of an announced crowd of 13,196.

"Right when I passed halfcourt and I saw there was three seconds left and saw Gary (Ervin) in front of me, he was calling for the ball," Townes said. "But I just wanted to get that dunk because I got that block."

Townes, who looked lackadaisical at times under former Arkansas coach Stan Heath, managed to keep the Razorbacks in the game early on when nothing seemed to be going right.

The 6-foot-10, 243-pound forward/center provided the Hogs (1-0) with an inside presence, as well as a much-needed spark off the bench.

Townes scored all 14 of his points in the first half, and he added five rebounds and a game-high five blocks in 21 minutes.

"Darian just came in with that intensity that we needed to just step it up a notch, and I think he did a great job of coming in and scoring almost half our points in the first half," Ervin said.

The Razorbacks didn't score their first basket until 5 minutes, 25 seconds into the first half when forward Sonny Weems found Townes open under the basket for a two-handed dunk.

Weems and Townes repeated the play two minutes later, and Townes scored again at 11:56 in the first half when he drove baseline for a short jumper.

Townes scored Arkansas' first six points.

But it was the senior's block and dunk at the end of the first half that caught Pelphrey's attention and gave Arkansas momentum heading into the locker room at halftime.

Of course, Pelphrey wasn't sure if Townes would even be able to complete the play.

"When he got it, I was thinking, 'Give it to Gary.' And then he didn't give it to Gary and I thought he was going to run over Gary trying to get to the basket," Pelphrey said.

"... Fortunately, Gary got out of his way and Darian was able to complete it."

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