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Johnson Powers Hogs Past Troy

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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 You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Arkansas Downs Oklahoma 84-74

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FAYETTEVILLE - Rotnei Clarke scored 20 points and Arkansas trailed only briefly in a 84-74 win over Oklahoma Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks (4-1) held off several Sooners runs in the game’s final minutes for its second win in three years over its border rival. Arkansas led by as many as 17 points after staking a six-point halftime lead.

Jeff Peterson scored 15 points and added five assists for the Razorbacks, while newcomers Marvell Waithe (eight points, six rebounds), Rickey Scott (five points) and Mardracus Wade (eight points, two steals) each had the best games of their young careers.

“Tonight was a team victory,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. “Everybody did a little bit of something to help us win.”

Clarke hit 3 of 5 attempts from 3-point range and became the fastest player in Arkansas history to hit 200 3-pointers in a career. Arkansas hit 5 of 11 from beyond the arc as a team after going 3-for-21 in its last game.

Andrew Fitzgerald scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a losing effort for the Sooners (3-4).

Arkansas hit 28 of 55 of its field goal attempts and scored 28 points off 22 Oklahoma turnovers.

It was a nice turnaround after Arkansas hit just 38 percent of its shots in an overtime loss to Alabama-Birmingham last Friday in North Little Rock.

The Sooners stayed in the game thanks to a large rebounding margin. Oklahoma outrebounded Arkansas 42-23, holding the Razorbacks to just seven rebounds after halftime. The Sooners had 22 second-chance points on 18 offensive rebounds.

Arkansas continued to be short-handed in the frontcourt. Preseason all-SEC forward Marshawn Powell was limited, scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds in just 12 minutes as he continues to recover from a preseason foot injury. Michael Sanchez missed his fifth game of the year with a foot injury of his own.

“Right now we’ve got two of our better front court players that aren’t healthy,” Pelphrey said. “We aren’t going to make any excuses, though. We’re going to make the best of what we’ve got and go out there with it.

“Rebounding is something we’re struggling with. When somebody is leading us with six rebounds, it’s not good.”

Free throw shooting helped Arkansas keep the Sooners at a distance, however. The Razorbacks hit 23 of 26 charity tosses on the night.

An estimated 10,047 attended the game. It was the largest crowd this season at Bud Walton Arena.

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The Streak Stops at One: Arkansas 84, Oklahoma 74

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April L. Brown – AP

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In a game that will no doubt be remembered as fondly and vividly as the Hogs’ 1978 Orange Bowl upset of Oklahoma, the Razorback hoopsters defeated their Sooner counterparts 84 to 74 tonight in Bud Walton Arena. OK, so this game probably won’t live in Arkansas history. But for those 48 of us still paying attention to the basketball team, it was an encouraging win nonetheless.

Granted, this Sooner squad won’t be confused with the early 70s UCLA Bruins any time soon, but it was good to see the Hogs bounce back strongly from their semi-comatose effort last Friday against UAB. The Hogs led by as many as 17 in the second half.

From the ”no surprises” file, sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke led the way, scoring 20 points while making 7 of 12 from the field. Other highlights include the team’s making 23 of its 26 free throws, its field-goal percentage of 50 percent, Jeff Peterson‘s 15 points, and solid efforts by Peterson’s fellow newcomers Marvell Waithe, Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott.

Now if only Marshawn Powell could fully recover from his foot injury, this season could yet turn out to be an interesting and enjoyable one.

For those of you who watched the game, what are your thoughts on tonight’s win and the season thus far?

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