"I told him I thought this was the best game he played," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said.
Pelphrey said he had a feeling Fortson would perform this way against the Tigers. During the previous two days of practice, Pelphrey matched up three starters and two reserves against Fortson and any four rotating players.
Fortson's team always won.
"He was wearing out three starters for two days," Pelphrey said. "Wherever we put him, he was just ridiculous in practice. He made everybody better. He turned around and did it in the game."
The 5-foot-11 native of Montgomery, Ala., had 23 assists and 23 turnovers on the season before Wednesday's game. But he improved on that ratio against Texas Southern by showing improved decision-making and impressive passing ability.
He had several assists on no-look passes after drawing defenders on drives into the lane. And the dish that drew that loudest roar came in the first half when, on a fast break, Fortson tossed the ball off the backboard to freshman forward Andre Clark for a two-hand dunk.
"He looked like a true point guard tonight," Arkansas freshman guard Rotnei Clarke said.
You're Gone, Coach
Texas Southern coach Tony Harvey was called for a technical foul with 14 minutes, 2 secconds left in the first half with the Razorbacks leading 8-6. Harvey was upset after he thought Arkansas junior Michael Washington fouled Michael Drewy on a breakaway dunk attempt.
Clarke drained both technical free throws.
Harvey, a first-year coach, was then ejected after being whistled for a second technical with 9:31 left. It was unclear what Harvey was unhappy about at that point. Two free throws by Clarke gave Arkansas a 29-11 lead.
Arkansas finished 10 of 26 from beyond the 3-point line, making only two less than its season-high of 12 at South Alabama.
The sharp-shooting Clarke, who entered the contest at 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, started the contest 1 of 6. He drained his last three, however, to finish 4 of 9.
"I knew I wasn't shooting very good," Clarke said. "I got some better looks and hit a (few) at the end."
Freshman guard Jason Henry was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. And sophomore guard Marcus Britt nailed another 3-pointer Wednesday night, making him 3 of 5 this season, exceeding his total from last season. Britt only made 2 of his 15 tries last season as a freshman.
• Junior Montrell McDonald again was not on the Arkansas bench Wednesday night. He missed Saturday's game and continues to be suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
• The Hogs continued to struggle from the free throw line. Arkansas ended the night 16 of 29 on free throws after starting 9 of 20. Clarke went 4 of 4 as the only player to make all of his free throws.
• Arkansas doesn't play again until next Wednesday night when North Carolina Central visits Fayetteville.