|Updated: 11/16/2011 10:16 pm
||Published: 11/16/2011 10:15 pm
FAYETTEVILLE – Six players hit the double-digit total for points on Wednesday night as the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team raced to a 2-0 start on the season with a 91-68 victory over Oakland University in Bud Walton Arena. It was the first time since Dec. 30, 2008 where six Razorbacks scored in double figures.
Junior Marshawn Powell scored a team high 20 points and had seven rebounds to lead the Razorbacks, but sophomores Mardracus Wade, Rickey Scott and freshmen Rashad Madden and B.J. Young all finished with at least 10 points on the night. Junior Julysses Nobles also got in on part of the scoring rampage as he added 10 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists.
“We came out and delivered a punch tonight,” Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. “I can’t say enough about our energy. Marshawn (Powell) took advantage of his size and our defense created a lot of opportunities.”
The Arkansas defense was the deciding factor in the game. The Hogs caused 18 Oakland turnovers and scored 23 points off those turnovers. As a team, Arkansas finished with 10 steals and scored 23 points in fast break. The offense was also very strong as the Razorbacks finished 22-of-39 from the field and was 5-of-11 from three-point land. Oakland was held to 35 percent shooting and only had two players in double figure scoring.
The Razorbacks started the game off right with a 10-4 run into the first media timeout at the 15:30 mark in the first half. Powell scored the first five points of the game for Arkansas and that momentum boost was what fueled the early first half run.
Arkansas’ offense continued to roll out of the timeout as the Hogs went up by as much as 15-4 after sophomore Rickey Scott threw down a monstrous dunk. But the Golden Grizzlies stopped the run with a layup on their next possession by Laval Lucas-Perry at the 14:02 mark to cut the lead to nine.
It was then that the Razorbacks started to get three-pointers by the handful. Starting with Marvell Waithe, who drained the first one of the night from the top of the key, Young followed up with a deep trey of his own just two minutes later, pushing the Hog lead to 24-9 with 11:10 to play in the half.
Even with the solid offensive performance through the first ten minutes of the game, the Hogs also tallied three steals and caused five turnovers. The strong defensive effort translated into 10 points off of those turnovers and the team held Oakland to 27 percent shooting.
As the midway point of the half passed, Arkansas continued to build on its lead and crossed the 20-point margin after another three ball, this time by Nobles. The bucket gave the Razorbacks a 38-17 lead with 7:27 to go in the first half.
After a couple traded possessions, the Hogs got a mini 7-0 run over just one minute of play. A layup by Powell was followed by the biggest bucket of the half, an alley-oop from Nobles to a streaking Young, which got the Bud Walton crowd on its feet. The cheers were able to continue as Arkansas finished the run with Nobles’ second three-pointer of the half. At the end of the scoring barrage, the Hogs had its largest lead of the night at 49-21 with 3:41 to play in the first half.
Arkansas was not able to get its lead over 30 before the first half buzzer, but was able to get some late buckets by freshman Rashad Madden and senior Michael Sanchez to take a 55-27 lead into the locker room. Powell finished the half as the game’s leading scorer as he had 18 points with four rebounds. Powell was also a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor to go along with one block and one steal.
As a team, Arkansas shot 56 percent in the first half and held Oakland to 10-of-35 from the field for 29 percent. The Hogs also caused 10 turnovers and scored 17 points off turnovers.
The second half started out much quicker for both teams as points were traded back and forth for the first three minutes of play. Oakland actually cut the lead to 19 with 16:44 left after a three-pointer and a free throw by Reggie Hamilton, but that was the closest the Grizzlies would get in the second half as the Razorbacks kept their lead above 20 for the remainder of the game.
With it still early in the half, the Razorbacks went on a 9-0 run over a five minute span that expanded their lead from 20 to 29. Over that run, the Hogs got a nice mid-range jumper from Madden and then capped it with a deep three-pointer from Young, one of his three in the game. After the trey, the Hogs held a 77-48 lead with 9:12 to go and they wouldn’t look back from there.
The win by Arkansas moves them to 2-0 against Oakland all-time. The last meeting between the two schools was in December of 2006. Waithe’s three-point basket from the top of the key in the first half extended Arkansas’ consecutive game streak with at least one three-point basket to 740 games. The last time Arkansas failed to make a three-pointer was during the 1989 season.
The Razorbacks’ next game will come against Houston on Friday and will be played in Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark. The game is slated to tip-off at 7 p.m. and will be televised by FSN.
For more information on the Razorback men’s basketball team or University of Arkansas athletics, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.