Arkansas 86, FAMU 61

Michael Washington pumps in 20 points and grabs 11 rebounds to lead the University of Arkansas over Florida A&M 86-61 Saturday afternoon before 10,182 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

All's well that ends well.

Michael Washington had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Courtney Fortson 13 points and Rotnei Clarke 12 as the University of Arkansas wokd up in time to rout Florida A&M 86-61 before an estimated 10,182 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

Marcus Britt and Brandon Moore both added a career-high 9 points and Michael Sanchez and Stefan Welsh 8 each for the Razorbacks (4-1), who trailed 43-42 with just under 15 minutes remaining before turning it on.

"We have a lot of work on, but after an emotional heartfelt victory at South Alabama (on Wednesday) to make the quick turnaround and come play this game, I think we did well," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said.

"We had a good defensive run and kept them from scoring for awhile there," Pelphrey added, "and we were able to get some good offensive rebounds so we were able to pick up the speed of the game and really get some things going."

Andre Clarke added 7 points and 5 rebounds on a day when Arkansas played with just 9 players since its two small forwards – Jason Henry and Montrell McDonald – were both suspended for violation of team rules.

"Andre is a very talented, extremely athletic individual and he will continue to grow and get better," Pelphrey said. "If he can get some more rebounds every now and then, then he will be able to make a big impact on this team.

It was the third straight game that Henry had been out - although he is still practicing with the team.

That is not the case with McDonald, who Pelphrey refused to rule out that he might not rejoin the team.

"Montrell is suspended from the basketball team," Pelphrey said. "It's a coach's decision.

Eight Razorbacks had at least seven points and 7 had at least five rebounds - with Welsh's 8 boards a career-high - in the win.

But it was the defense that carried the day per Pelphrey.

"Our defense was pretty good all the way through," Pelphrey said. "We just couldn't get in a rhythm offensively. Mike got in foul trouble early and that hurt us. Obviously he is a big part of our game plan. When we did get into a rhythm, it got faster and we got some points and in the second half we were able to get Mike a few more touches."

FAMU (1-5) actually led 44-43 before a Washington-led 16-4 run blew the game open for the Razorbacks.

Washington had 11 of his points in that stretch before Britt's basket capped that spree and put Arkansas up 59-49 with 8:34 remaining.

Washington was 5-of-8 from the field and 10-of-16 from the free throw line.

"We just weren't putting it together in the first half," Washington said. "We had taken a lot of shots so we just needed to play as a team and really just work our inside game." The spurt actually grew to a 22-7 by the time Britt and Fortson nailed consecutive 3-pointers to send the Razorbacks ahead 65-50.

The day's most crowd-pleasing play came soon afterwards when Fortson drove the lane and lofted an alley-oop that Clark rammed home with his left hand.

Brandon Moore's lay-up surged Arkansas 82-59 soon afterwards.

"We really had to spread the court tonight and stay focused and play hard," Britt said. "We just really weren't focused in the first half, so in the second half we had to play smart ball and quit taking quick shots and really play as a team and really worl on our inside game."

In a first half where the lead changed hands 8 times and was tied on four occasions, Arkansas took its largest lead on two Sanchez free throws that put his team up 33-26 with 1:06 left before intermission.

It was 36-29 at half, but FAMU came storming back.

Hughes' 3-point tied it and then he buried another to give the visitors a 43-42 lead with 14:26 left in the game.

Arkansas ended the day shooting 48.1 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point range and made 28-of-41 free throws (68.3 percent).

Its defense held FAMU to just 34.8 percent field goal shooting and a woeful 8-of-35 from 3-point land in a game where the Rattlers shot just 9 free throws.

Brandon Bryant led the visitors with 16 points and Dale Hughes added 15.

"We didn't establish an inside presence," FAMU head coach Eugene Harris said. "That's something you have to do against an SEC team. Arkansas is a very good team and I don't see anything but good things coming from that team."

Arkansas, who will not play another road game until Jan. 14, will return to action Wednesday night against Texas Southern in a game that will be televised statewide.

Actually the next nine Razorback games will be televised by Razorback Sports Properties, ESPN2 or Fox Sports Net.

"Home court advantage is really helpful and we can use it to gain some momentum heading into these upcoming games, so it really is a plus," Fortson said.


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