Arkansas 98, North Carolina Central 70

Courtney Fortson records only the school's second triple-double in history with 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Michael Washington 20 points and 12 rebounds as the University of Arkansas routs winless North Carolina Central 98-70 Wednesday night before 12,424 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

You would think playing a basketball team from Durham, N.C., would have brought about a tight game and a sellout crowd at Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday night.

But this was the other team from Durham – the winless one, not the Duke one guided by Coach K.

Freshmen point guard Courtney Fortson recorded only the school's second triple-double ever with 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the University of Arkansas drilled North Carolina Central 98-70 before an announced crowd of 12,424 fans.

"Courtney certainly had a big, big night from the indivdual side of it," noted Razorback head coach John Pelphrey, who was not pleased with his team's overall effort. "It's not every day that a guy gets double figures in everything he is doing out there....Regardless of what is going on in a 40-minute basketball game, that's playing, competing and competing pretty hard."

Fortson was 7-of-13 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range, 3-of-6 from the free throw line, grabbed four offensive rebounds and six defensive ones and had four turnovers in 31 minutes on the floor.

The only other in UA history was Alvin Robertson's feat at Texas in 1984.

"I really credit my success to my teammates for the triple-double," Fortson said. "They really hustled for the ball and worked hard so that helped in getting those assists. It is really an honor because Arkansas has had so many great players and such good tradition."

But as earlier noted, Pelphrey was not happy with what he saw overall - in part because of 26 turnovers and allowing the Eagles to have 22 assists.

"I don't know if I learned anything tonight, but I saw some things that are going to keep me up at night," Pelphrey said. "...We have to take care of the basketball better than that...At times were were just careless. Turnovers can limit us. Those are things that really concern me.

"From a handling, passing and defensive standpoint this was our worst game," Pelphrey added.

Michael Washington added 20 points and 12 rebounds, Rotnei Clarke 15 points, Michael Sanchez 14 points and 8 rebounds and Jason Henry 12 points off the bench for the Razorbacks (6-1), who won their fourth straight before the largest crowd so far of the season.

It was certainly a nice effort for Washington, who was 9-of-11 from the field and has been battling a back injury.

"Mike gets 20 and 12 and that is what he should be doing against this basketball team," Pelphrey said. "He is physically better than those guys. He looked pretty healthy to me. I thought Sanchez played well and Rotnei hit some shots."

North Carolina Central (0-10) continued to struggle in its second year of Division I basketball – a season which has the Eagles playing 23 games on the road.

"Arkansas is so much bigger than our team," North Carolina Central head coach Henry Dickerson said. "When they get a rebound, they take off and run. Therefore, we tried to make adjustments, but things just got slower. We were just out numbered."

Nevertheless, Dickerson found something to be happy about with his team, who was averaging just 52 points per game coming.

It was the most points his team had scored this season.

"Being able to score 70 points on an SEC team was a good accomplishment for us," Dickerson said. "Still, we are not a big enough team and we are not on the intensity level like Arkansas is."

Pelphrey wasn't willing to give his players the benefit of the doubt for not being up for the game.

"There are a lot of things as a coach that you preach on a daily basis - have a respect level for the game, have a respect level for who is in the other locker room," Pelphrey said. "There are good coaches and good players everywhere. There are a lot of programs spending money on their basketball programs. You also have to have a respect level for that (Arkansas) jersey.

"We preach those things on a daily basis. Do we always get them? I would say this is one of those nights tonight that we did not."

The Razorbacks ended up shooting 53 percent from the field, 30 percent (6-of-20) from 3-point range and 78.3 percent of their free throws (18-of-23).

They also out-rebounded their much smaller foe 50-27 and had a 54-18 advantage in point sin the paint.

North Carolina Central made 13 3-pointers, something that Pelphrey didn't like even as they were shooting just 40 percent for the game.

"We did not play as well as we had been practicing," Pelphrey said. "On a daily basis with a young basketball team, they are their own worst enemy right now."

Arkansas raced out to a 15-4 lead by the time Fortson's 3-pointer with 15:26 left in the first half capped a 12-0 spree.

Marcus Britt pumped in four points in a matter of seconds to boost it to 26-12 soon afterwards.

It certainly didn't help the visitors that the Razorbacks had an 8-point trip down the court – a layup by Henry, one by Sanchez and two free throws by him off an intentional foul and then Henry scoring on a lay-up again to make it 34-17 at the 9:36 mark.

The Razorbacks would take a 53-33 lead to the break.

There was absolutely no suspense left by the time that the 5-10 Fortson got loose for a dunk that made it 74-44 with just over 13 minutes left in the game.

Arkansas' largest lead was 39 and it still had a 94-58 lead with four minutes left.

"I am disappointed with the way the game ended - the last three minutes there," Pelphrey said. "We turned the ball over 26 times with basically not being pressed. That's not going to impress anybody."

Arkansas now takes a week off for finals before returning to the court to face Austin Peay in the opening round of the Jim Thorpe Classic next Wednesday at Bud Walton Arena.

Pelphrey was quick to note that effort would not get it done against either Austin Peay or Stephen F. Austin, much less upcoming visitors Texas and Oklahoma and those teams on the SEC conference slate.

"There is no doubt about it," Pelphrey said. "It brings into the equation a lot of people being able to beat us. It also brings into the equation there are very few people on our schedule that we could beat."

Courtney Fortson shows off his leaping ability.

Michael Washington scores inside.

Jason Henry scores 2 of his 12 points off the bench on Wednesday.

Rotnei Clarke and Michael Sanchez (31) defend.

Rotnei Clarke dives for a loose basketball.

Brandon Moore grabs a rebound in front of Stevy Worah-Ozima.

Marcus Britt tries to get to the basket.

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey was not happy with his team's performance,

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