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Arkansas Beats Seton Hall 71-62

Arkansas
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Julysses Nobles scored a career-high 19 points to lead Arkansas to a 71-62 win over Seton Hall on Wednesday night in the SEC/Big East Invitational at Freedom Hall.

Marshawn Powell added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Rotnei Clarke and Mardracus Wade scored 11 points for the Razorbacks (6-1), who used a late 11-0 run to put away the Pirates.

Arkansas senior Delvon Johnson finished just shy of a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots.

Jordan Theodore led Seton Hall 3-4) with 24 points but the Pirates ran out of gas after erasing a 17-point lead.

Theodore hit a pair of free throws with 7:05 to go to give Seton Hall a 51-50 lead before Arkansas took off. Powell got it going with a couple of free throws and a spinning layup and Nobles capped the burst with a 3-pointer to put Arkansas up 61-51 with 2:19 to play.

The Pirates fell to 1-3 without leading scorer Jeremy Hazell, who is out until January after breaking his left wrist against Alabama on Nov. 19.

This story will be updated.

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Johnson Powers Hogs Past Troy

Arkansas
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FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas went inside and often Saturday and senior center Delvon Johnson delivered in a big way.

Johnson recorded a double-double with 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and added four blocked shots in a 75-60 win over Troy.

“All I was trying to do was whatever my team needed me to do,” Johnson said. “We were down at first and I tried to bring us back with energy.

“This is my last year as a senior. I’m not holding anything back.”

The Razorbacks (5-1) used a 13-0 run to close the first half and take the lead for good. Marvell Waithe’s putback at the buzzer gave Arkansas a 48-36 halftime advantage.

Clutch free throw shooting helped the Razorbacks stay in the game after falling behind early. Arkansas made 23 of 28 from the line Saturday, including all 12 attempts in the second half.

Arkansas hit 23 of 26 free throws earlier in the week in a win over Oklahoma.

The Razorbacks were whistled for a season-low 12 fouls and Troy attempted only six free throws in the game. Johnson, who has struggled with foul problems all year, committed only two against the Trojans.

“We were able to keep him on the floor,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. “He was a big, big factor for us. He was effective defensively, he was effective rebounding the ball offensively and that’s a big deal.

“We were able to gain an advantage and that was good because that has been a problem up until this week. Being able to play defense without fouling is a weapon.”

Johnson, who hit 6 of 8 free throw attempts, helped the Razorbacks extend their lead before the break. Troy center Bernard Toombs got into foul trouble late in the half. When Johnson found himself matched up with smaller defenders, he attacked.

“My game plan was to go at whoever was guarding me, big or small,” Johnson said. “Whey they had small guards on me, I tried to get them into foul trouble, too.”

Sophomore forward Marshawn Powell, who has been slowed with a foot injury, said Johnson’s play has been key with he and Michael Sanchez less than 100 percent.

“We really don’t have a lot of size when it comes down to the paint,” Powell said. “If he plays like that every game, there’s no telling how far we can go.”

Powell, a preseason all-SEC selection, scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in his most extensive playing time this season for the Razorbacks. Powell has been recovering from a broken foot suffered in the preseason.

“I thought it was the best he looked,” Pelphrey said. “I don’t think he’s too far away. He certainly helps us just being out there. He’s a calming factor and I think he just gives the guys confidence.”

Powell said he felt more comfortable by wearing a new pair of shoes during the game. The black hightops had a plate inserted to add more support.

“It feels good to be running faster,” Powell said. “It’s getting better and healing. I’m just taking it day-by-day.”

Rotnei Clarke scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Razorbacks, while Jeff Peterson added eight points and six boards.

Vernon Taylor scored a game-high 19 points in a losing effort for the Trojans.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Hogs Drop First Game in Overtime

Arkansas
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NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas could muster only one comeback Friday night.

Jeff Peterson’s 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game to overtime, but the Razorbacks couldn’t find any offensive production in the extra frame, falling 70-65 to Alabama-Birmingham at Verizon Arena.

Arkansas (3-1) went just 1-for-6 from the free throw line in overtime, while UAB (4-1) drained two 3-pointers.

“They made it really difficult for us in overtime,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. “They continued to do a real good job of executing their stuff.

“Tough game. Tough loss.”

Jamarr Sanders, who hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Arkansas last season, scored 19 points for the Blazers to lead all scorers. Ovie Soko added 17 points, including a three-point play to give the Blazers a 68-60 lead with less than a minute remaining in overtime.

Delvon Johnson added 18 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort for the Razorbacks. Peterson scored 13 points, while Rotnei Clarke and Julysses Nobles each had 10.

Marshawn Powell scored six points and four rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench in his first playing time since the season opener two weeks ago.

“He’s obviously not where he’s going to be,” Pelphrey said. “I thought he made aggressive moves and got us close to the basket.”

Peterson’s shot tied the game at 57-all and capped a 9-2 Arkansas run in the final minute.

“We did tonight one of the toughest things that you can do on the road and that is lose a big lead, go into overtime on a last-second shot and be able to win the game in overtime,” UAB coach Mike Davis said. “It speaks volumes about our guys.”

The Razorbacks led 11-7 midway through the first half, but the Blazers countered with a 7-0 run and didn’t trail again until Powell’s jumper gave Arkansas a 21-20 halftime lead.

It was a tough night on the offensive end for Arkansas. The Razorbacks hit just 25 of 66 shots from the floor, including 3 of 21 from 3-point range. The Blazers shot 48 percent.

An announced crowd of 8,425 fans watched the game – the largest crowd at an Arkansas game this season.

The Razorbacks return to the court next Wednesday with a game against Oklahoma at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Hogs Drop First Game in OT

Arkansas
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NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas could muster only one comeback Friday night.

Jeff Peterson’s 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game to overtime, but the Razorbacks couldn’t find any offensive production in the extra frame, falling 70-65 to Alabama-Birmingham at Verizon Arena.

Arkansas (3-1) went just 1-for-6 from the free throw line in overtime, while UAB (4-1) drained two 3-pointers.

Jamarr Sanders, who hit a shot at the buzzer to beat Arkansas last season, scored 19 points for the Blazers to lead all scorers. Ovie Soko added 17 points, including a three-point play in overtime to give the Blazers a 68-60 lead with less than a minute remaining.

Delvon Johnson added 18 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort for the Razorbacks. Peterson scored 13 points, while Rotnei Clarke and Julysses Nobles each had 10.

Peterson’s shot capped a 9-2 Arkansas run in the final minute after trailing 55-48.

The Razorbacks led 11-7 midway through the first half, but the Blazers countered with a 7-0 run and never trailed again.

It was a tough night on the offensive end for Arkansas. The Razorbacks hit just 25 of 66 shots from the floor, including 3 of 21 from 3-point range. The Blazers shot 48 percent.

Arkansas returns to the court next Wednesday with a game against Oklahoma at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Q&A: Razorback Basketball Preview with Chris Bahn

Arkansas
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(AP Photo/Beth Hall)

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Believe it or not, the Razorback basketball season is here (well, almost here: the regular season begins tomorrow night when the Hogs take on Grambling State in Fayetteville). In light of the program’s 28-34 record the last two seasons and the football team’s rise under Bobby Petrino, it’s understandable that the basketball Hogs are flying somewhat under the radar these days. But with returning players Marshawn Powell and Rotnei Clarke and an intriguing group of new guards, we think these Razorbacks could show meaningful improvement.

But enough about what we think: To get the perspective of someone truly in the know, we harassed Chris Bahn, who covers the Razorbacks for ArkansasSports360. Many thanks to Chris for his time and insight.

Expats: The team is coming off back-to-back losing seasons but John Pelphrey and his staff have generated some much-needed positive headlines by putting together an impressive 2011 recruiting class. If our sundials and water clocks are correct, though, the Hogs have another season to play before that heralded group arrives. What’s the mood of this team as it begins a new year?

Bahn: “Hopeful” is the best word I can think of to describe the team’s mood entering 2010-11. I think that applies to the fans and players even though, in terms of raw talent, the Razorbacks lost three guys with pro ability (as long as we all agree pro doesn’t necessarily = NBA). Still, there’s a sense the pieces will fit better together and play nice with each other, which wasn’t always the case last year. Chemistry has been the buzzword from players and coaches. Hopefully that leads to better results. Just knowing no players have jokingly referenced sexual assault via Twitter seems like a nice start.

Expats: What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of this team will prove to be?

Bahn: Perimeter depth is undoubtedly better than we’ve seen in years. That should allow the team to throw a number of bodies at opponents and might give fans a taste of the “40 Minutes of Pel” they were promised in 2007 when John Pelphrey took over. Arkansas has some bigger bodies on the perimeter, which should help what’s been a woeful three-point defense at times.

Inside, it’s a totally different story. Delvon Johnson is the only true post player the team has, and he and Marvell Waithe are the “tallest” members of the team at 6-foot-9. Arkansas almost has no choice but to get up and down the floor and hope against things grinding into a halfcourt game where post play matters.

Expats: Should we be at all concerned about Marshawn Powell’s left foot?

Bahn: If there’s a concern relating to Powell’s summer foot injury I think it centers on his conditioning. Powell might need some time to regain his all-SEC form. Powell might play limited minutes early this year as he works himself back into game shape. I wouldn’t sweat it unless he suffers some sort of serious setback with the foot.

Expats: Which returning players do you think are poised to improve significantly from last year?

Bahn: Glenn Bryant was drawing rave reviews for his summer work in the weight room and open gym. He’s got unnatural athletic ability and when he figures out how to use it in the context of Pelphrey’s system, I think he can be really impactful.

Delvon Johnson has earned praise from teammates and John Pelphrey for making strides in the weight room. We’ll have to see how that carries over to the floor.

Expats: Which newcomer is set to make the biggest impact?

Bahn: If we’re being fairly liberal with the use of “newcomer” then I’ll got with a guy who was here last year, but didn’t play. Point guard Jeff Peterson (Iowa transfer) will have to get the ball to Arkansas’ scorers and push the tempo at the right times for the offense to be a success. Peterson has been described as more of a “true point guard” and leader than last year’s starter, Courtney Fortson. Teammates seem to view Peterson as a welcome change at the position.

Expats: Crystal ball time. What do you think the Hogs’ regular-season record will be (approximately), and do you foresee them snagging a bid to a postseason tournament?

Bahn: Making the NIT isn’t out of the question. Sexy? No. But proof of modest improvement, I suppose. With the West likely being down Arkansas has an opportunity to pick up some wins and the ‘name’ nonconference teams aren’t as difficult as we might think on first glance. Overall record? I’ll say the wins total more than 14, less than 20. Whatever the team lands on in between those numbers, I’ll claim. Deal?

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Run Sparks Arkansas Win

Arkansas
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Arkansas used a 25-0 run late in the first half to take the lead and the Razorbacks never trailed again in a 109-74 exhibition win over Victory University on Thursday.

The run gave Arkansas a 45-31 lead after trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half. The stretch lasted 5 minutes, 59 seconds, with 10 different Razorbacks scoring at least one basket.

Rotnei Clarke’s 3-pointer gave the Hogs their first lead of the game at 34-31. Playing in his first game of the preseason, Clarke scored a team-high 17 points.

Glenn Bryant added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Julysses Nobles (13), Michael Sanchez (11) and Delvon Johnson (11) each scored in double-figures.

Arkansas was without Marshawn Powell, who continues to come back slowly from a broken foot suffered in August. Powell had been used in a limited role in the Razorbacks’ exhibition last weekend.

Arkansas hit 43 of 87 shots on the night. The Razorbacks added 21 offensive rebounds and 32 forced turnovers – 23 of which came on steals.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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