It was an early afternoon game, but apparently the University of Arkansas' wake-up call didn't arrive until early in the second half.
That's when the Razorbacks – down 10 with 17:02 left in the game – finally kicked it into gear.
Arkansas used a 16-2 run to take its first lead and then a 11-0 knockout punch soon afterwards en route to a 62-51 win over ORU Saturday afternoon before 12,721 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
Gary Ervin had 16 points and Darian Townes was strong off of the bench again with 14 and Patrick Beverley added 13 for the Razorbacks (6-1), who won their fourth straight game.
"That was a big win for us against a very good basketball team," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "I don't think we came out flat after the win over Missouri, but think we were just trying to do too much offensively early on. It was our defense and playing the game right that let us have a big second half that got us a win."
Arkansas won despite being without starting small forward Sonny Weems, who was indefinitely suspended by Pelphrey for at least one game.
"Obviously it was a violation of team rules and there are a few things he needs to focus on and do a better job there with and we are hoping he does," Weems said. "It is yet to be determined (if he will be suspended more than one game)."
Robert Jarvis had 18 to lead the Golden Eagles, who scored the first 10 points of the game and were also trying for their fourth straight win under head coach Scott Sutton.
"The game was very similar to last year's game," ORU head coach Scott Sutton said. "I thought there were several plays that led to us letting them back in. We're going to have to get better later in the game."
Jarvis hit 4 3-pointers in the game, including one from near the Hogs' snout near midcourt.
"Robert Jarvis is a lethal weapon," Pelphrey said. "He made it hard for our team to defend."
ORU jumped out to that 10-0 lead before Arkansas' first basket came with 12:43 left in the first half when Michael Washington put in a rebound basket.
When Thomas knocked down two free throws at the 6:35 mark, the Razorbacks had cut their deficit to 13-12.
Townes had six of those early points after bounding off the bench.
"Darian is in a good place mentally right now," Pelphrey said. "He has some great abilities and he can score that basketball. He is quick right now, he is athletic and boy he is hard to block out right now. He is getting a lot of second chance opportunities for us. Early he kind of saved us when offensively we couldn't get anything going."
The Golden Eagles surged back with five straight, but Arkansas answered and tied it 20-20 on Beverley's 3-pointer with 3:39 left before intermission.
Jarvis scored 7 of his 10 first-half points in the final 2:04 of the first half and then Kelvin Sango's two free throws with 1.2 showing gave ORU its 29-24 lead heading into the second stanza.
"They came out and just hit us first," Pelphrey said. "That is not something you want to have happen, especially in your own building, but it did. I just think that is a credit to how good they are as a basketball team."
The Golden Eagles quickly doubled that lead to 36-26 when Shawn King put in a rebound basket with 17:08 left in the game.
But the Razorbacks responded with an 11-0 run to take their first lead of the game when Michael Washington's 18-footer bounced high of the rim before nestling in the net.
ORU quickly regained the lead, but Washington drained a 3-pointer and Ervin got a steal and a dunk for a 42-38 lead with 11:21 remaining in the game.
"Coach (Pelphrey) let us know we were going to get their best punch," Ervin said. "They said we were going to slack off after our big win over Missouri, so we wanted to just come out in the second half - after we were down 10 - and just stay positive. It was a long game."
Jarvis' long 3-pointer got the Golden Eagles ahead 45-44, but Welsh's 3 on on the other end put Arkansas back in front 47-45 with 7:34 remaining.
When Townes got loose for a dunk with 4:13 left, the Razorbacks had surged ahead 55-45 with its 11-0 run.
"Darian Townes is a talented man," Pelphrey said. "He had some fast transitions that helped our team work until the end."
It was during that stretch that ORU's Marcus Lewis, who had nine points, was tossed from the game for his second technical foul when he got frustrated after not saving a ball from going out of bounds and heaved it against the front of the press table.
"That was big because he had done some good things for us," Sutton said. "I didn't see it, but I did ask the official if he would have called it if it had been an Arkansas guy and he didn't respond."
Jarvis believes that ORU missed its chance.
"As a team we just lost our composure," Jarvis said. "We needed to keep doing what we were doing to hold the lead, but we just didn't execute. We had a lot of defensive mistakes and we just weren't able to recover quickly enough."
The Razorbacks shot 44.9 percent from the field, limited the Golden Eagles to 37.5 percent, won the board battle 32-28 and also had only 10 turnovers while forcing 13.
"We have been known to chuck the ball around the floor a little," Pelphrey said. "If you waste possessions against Scott's teams, you are going to be in trouble because they don't turn the ball over much at all."
Arkansas returns to action quickly when it hosts Missouri State Monday night at 7:05 p.m.
Arkansas 62, ORU 51
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