Fortson Posts Triple-Double

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas junior forward Michael Washington cradled a basketball as he searched for freshman point guard Courtney Fortson after the Razorbacks' 98-70 win over North Carolina Central.

He finally found Fortson just before the two Razorbacks exited the Bud Walton Arena floor Wednesday night and jammed the ball into his stomach, smiling about Fortson's history-making effort.

Fortson posted the second triple-double in Arkansas history with 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Alvin Robertson recorded the other in 1984 at Texas.

"He needed the ball," Washington said. "He deserved it. He can do that any night. He's a great point guard. He can share the ball. He shoots well. He can rebound. And you also saw how he jumped up and dunked."

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said the value of Fortson's accomplishment shouldn't be minimized because it came against a winless opponent.

"It isn't every day someone gets double figures in everything he's doing out there," Pelphrey said.

Fortson, who said he had "about 10" triple-doubles in high school, didn't know about the triple-double possibility until Pelphrey mentioned it to him with about six minutes left. At the time, Fortson needed only one more rebound, and he snagged it soon after.

The Montgomery, Ala., native also recorded 11 assists for the second straight game.

"I really credit my success to my teammates for the triple-double," Fortson said.



Better At Line

Arkansas, which entered the contest 10th in the SEC in free throw shooting at 61.4 percent, had an impressive evening at the line. The Razorbacks converted eight of their first nine free throws and finished 13 of 16 in the first half.

The Hogs ended up nailing 18 of their 23 free throws for a season-high 78.3 percent. Freshman Michael Sanchez hit eight of his nine tries, and freshman Jason Henry drilled all four of his.

"I told you it was going to be better," said Fortson, who made only 3 of 6. "We just focused more."



Clark Limited

Freshman forward Andre Clark didn't play until the seven minute, 57 second mark of the second half. Pelphrey said Clark didn't see more playing time because he missed most of practice on Monday and Tuesday while getting caught up on schoolwork.

The 6-9 North Little Rock native had combined for 15 points and 10 rebounds in Arkansas' previous two games. He finished with two points and one rebound as he played the remainder of Wednesday night's contest.



Bombs Away

North Carolina Central connected on 13 of its 28 shots from 3-point range. Freshman guard Jamar Briscoe led the Eagles by draining six of his 10 attempts and finished with a game-high 24 points.

Senior guard Phillip Branch also hit four 3-pointers.



Tip-Ins

• The Razorbacks dominated the Eagles on the glass, grabbing 50 to NCCU's 27. Washington snagged a game-high 12 rebounds, followed by Fortson with 10 and Sanchez with eight.

• Junior forward Montrell McDonald missed his third straight game because of an undisclosed violation of team rules. Pelphrey said there was "no change" in his situation.

• Senior walk-on guard John Paul Noland suited up for the first time this season and will continue to do so, Pelphrey said.

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