Arkansas routs Alcorn State, 97-59
Arkansas junior forward Coty Clarke has returned to practice and will be ready to play Wednesday night.
FAYETTEVILLE Marshawn Powell continued a stellar start to his season Saturday night for Arkansas.
The redshirt junior, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament last November, scored a team-high 18 points in the Razorbacks' 97-59 win over Alcorn State at Bud Walton Arena.
"He continues to play at a high level," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "We always talk about playing quality minutes as opposed to quantity minutes, and Marshawn had 18 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes."
Powell connected on 7 of 9 field goal attempts in limited action, including a pair of 3-pointers. He also led the Razorbacks (5-4) in rebounding.
It was the fourth consecutive game the 6-foot-8 forward has scored in double-figures for Arkansas. He had 19 points and 18 points in recent losses to top 5 foes Syracuse and Michigan, and scored a career-high 33 points last week in a win over Oklahoma.
"He's shooting with confidence," Anderson said. "To me, that's an added weapon to our basketball team. Our bigs can step out and shoot the basketball.
"That's not the only thing we're going to do. We're still going to attack the basket and throw the ball inside, but the versatility is huge."
Like the rest of Arkansas' starters, Powell didn't play the game's final 12 minutes as the Razorbacks increased their lead to as many as 42 points. Thirteen of the team's 14 players made at least one field goal in the win.
The Razorbacks' bench scored 56 points in the win, led by Coty Clarke with 14 points and seldom-used freshman Michael Qualls with 10.
Arkansas scored 26 points off 24 turnovers and had 25 second-chance points while out-rebounding the Braves by 14.
"Our defense was pretty good for the most part," Anderson said. "I thought we did a good job of sharing the basketball. We had 15 assists in the first half and 24 in the game. That means there was good ball movement and people movement, and we got to the free throw line. Our bench gave us some quality minutes.
"You see guys playing the game the right way. That looked like Razorback basketball there tonight."
The game was the Razorbacks' first since going 1-4 in a five-game stretch against Arizona State, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Michigan. Unlike the loss to the No. 3 Wolverines last weekend, Arkansas didn't struggle on the offensive end Saturday, connecting on 47 percent of its field goal attempts and making 10 shots from 3-point range.
"The loss against Michigan left a bad taste in our mouth," Qualls said. "You’ve always got to bounce back.
“Coach emphasized rebounding and playing more aggressive. We came out and did it.”
Arkansas trailed only briefly in the game's opening minute. The Razorbacks used an 18-4 run midway through the period to build a 15-point lead.
After the Braves pulled within 10 points with 7:21 remaining in the half, Arkansas went on a 22-1 run to put the game out of reach. The Razorbacks led 53-24 at halftime.
"We got rattled right there at the end of the first half," Alcorn State coach Luther Riley said. "All they need is a spark and then they're going. We turned the ball over and had a couple of missed assignments, and it started going the other way."
LeAntwan Luckett scored 20 points to lead Alcorn State, while Anthony Nieves added 15. The loss was the third to a Southeastern Conference team this season for the Braves (2-7), which also fell to Missouri and Mississippi State.
Fayetteville native Fred Gulley scored 5 points in his first game eligible for Arkansas. Gulley had to sit out the fall semester after transferring to the Razorbacks from Oklahoma State in January.