FAYETTEVILLE — After playing from behind and winning in the end for two weeks, John Pelphrey's Arkansas Razorbacks added played from ahead Wednesday night and looked good doing it.
The Hogs dismantled LSU,87-52, in front of a crowd of 13,127 at Bud Walton Arena to maintain their hold on the top spot in the SEC West. The Razorbacks are now 13-11 on the season and 6-3 in SEC play.
Tonight the Hogs can watch the other two Western Division contenders square off at 8 p.m. (CST) on ESPN2 as Ole Miss (17-6, 5-4) travels to Starkville, Miss. to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs (16-7, 4-4)
PLAY OF THE GAME
Unquestionably, the biggest thrill of the night was supplied by 6-7 freshman reserve Glenn Bryant and Courtney Fortson. On the secondary break, Fortson caught LSU dogging it on defense and looped a high arcing pass to to Bryant who leaped well above to rim to slam home an alley oop with 2:09 remaining in the first half.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Rotnei Clarke started fast for the Hogs, canning a 3-pointer in the first minute of the game and that helped the Hogs finish off the Tigers early. With16:23 left in the first half, Clarke made a steal and drove for a layup to give the Hogs a 12-2 lead. The Razorbacks' long-distance assassin was efficient Wednesday, hitting 6-of-9 shots from the field and going 2-of-2 at the free-throw-line to score 16 points in 14 minutes of playing time. He also led the Hogs, who had 13 steals, with 4 take-aways on the night.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Razorbacks held LSU to 37.5 percent shooting from the field for the game and to 30.8 percent in the first half when the Hogs build an insurmountable 43-21 lead at halftime. The Hogs also made 13 steals on the night, while only suffering 8 turnovers in the contest. Those are the type of numbers that nearly always add up to a blowout victory.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Razorback freshman Glenn Bryant came off the bench to grab eight rebounds in the first half, and the high-flying 6-7 freshman from Detroit led all Hogs in rebounds with 9 in just 16 minutes on the court. That's better than 1 rebound every two minutes. LSU do-everything forward Tasmin Mitchell led all rebounders with 13.
QUOTE OOF THE NIGHT
Pelphrey made the point that Arkansas' blow-out victory was more of an aberration than anything else and that his team and fans shouldn't make more out of the game than it being one victory on one night. He pointed to last season when his squad played well but couldn't finish off games as an example of how a team can play some good basketball but not be fortunate enough to win.
"Last year, I don't think we were an easy out for anybody," Pelphrey said. "Eight of our last 11, we led in the second half and we really don't anticipate anybody being easy for us, either. Let's don't get carried away here. This is not indicative of how good we are or how the two teams compare to each other. This was just us playing very well tonight and being very fortunate."
After a two-game road stand, it's now time for the Hogs to hit the road again for a crucial game at Tuscaloosa, Ala. against Anthony Grant's Crimson Tide. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Alabama (13-11, 3-7) will look to turn the tables on the Hogs, who defeated the Crimson Tide, 71-59, in their first meeting Jan. 16 at Walton Arena.
A victory would keep the Hogs' in the catbird seat in the race for the Western Division title, while a loss would open the door up for the winner of tonight's Ole Miss-MSU contest.
The Hogs return to Walton Arena on Feb. 17 to host South Carolina for first of three final home games.