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February 12, 2011

Hogs show fight in win, 80-61

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BOX SCORE: UA 80, LSU 61

Rotnei Clarke scored 25 points, and Jeff Peterson dished out 7 assists as the Razorbacks handed LSU their eighth loss in-a-row, 80-61, Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville.

The game got out of hand for the Tigers the last 4:35 of the first half when Clarke got open for 1 of his 5 buckets from 3-point range to break open a 26-20 game. Clarke's trey gave Arkansas a 9-point lead and jumpstarted a 14-2 run that broke the game wide-open and closed the half at 40-22 following a slashing Clarke lay-in as time expired.

"It was a timeout, and I told them it was real important that we come out of the timeout and finish out the half well," LSU Coach Trent Johnson said. "There was a mental and physical breakdown."

Clarke finished the game 5 minutes early due to what ballooned into a game-high 29-point Razorback advantage when Peterson knifed his way inside and hit a short jumper from the baseline with 4:55 to play.

"We were just happy because of how hard we worked," Clarke said. "I just tried to be aggressive as much as possible. Whenever I see an open gap or an opportunity, I know I have to try to get to the hole."

Peterson's bucket capped a 17-8 run that started at the 11:19 mark when the LSU bench was whistled for a technical foul. Arkansas already held a 59-41 advantage at that point.

"I just try to be aggressive and find my teammates. My wings do a great job of running," Peterson said. "I just try to get it to the open person."

One reason Arkansas scored 40 points in each half was their defensive play. They forced the Tigers into 17 turnovers and out-rebounded them 30-19, which is a rare feat by a Razorback team that was riding a 3-game losing streak thanks in large part to defensive struggles.

"It just felt good. We really concentrated on our defense the past two practices," Peterson said. "We're not going to be able to win games unless we play defense well, that's why we're so excited."

In addition to Peterson's 7:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, he chipped in 6 points with 2 rebounds. UA forward Marshawn Powell had 14 points, 1 rebound and 3 steals, and Delvon Johnson had 9 points and 8 rebounds. Johnson averages 3.5 blocks per game but had none on Saturday.

"I thought that the first half we did a very good job of defending and rebounding," Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey said. "That was a very important minute-and-a-half, two minutes to finish out the first half."

Matt Derenbecker led LSU with 13 points, and Malcolm White had 11 points and 3 rebounds. Eddie Ludwig had 9 points and led the Tigers in rebounding with 5.

The Hogs finished the game 48 percent from the field on 24 of 50 shooting, including 7 of 12 on 3-point shooting (58.3 percent). Arkansas managed to get into the bonus early in both halves and hit an impressive 25 of 29 from the free-throw line (86.2 percent). LSU was 22 of 51 from the field (43.1 percent) and hit 3 of 11 3-point shots (27.3 percent). LSU hit 14 of 18 free-throw opportunities (77.8 percent).

At the half, Clarke led the Hogs in scoring with 15 of his 25 points and was 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Peterson had 4 points and 6 of his 7 assists. White was LSU's leading scoring with 6 points. Arkansas shot 54.2 percent from the field (13 of 24), 74.1 percent from 3-point range (5 of 7) and 81.8 percent from the free throw line (9 of 11). LSU shot 42.9 percent from the field (9 of 21), were 0-for-3 from 3-point range and hit 66.7 percent from the charity stripe (4 of 6). Arkansas out-rebounded the Tigers 14-11 in the first half and forced 14 of LSU's 17 turnovers compared to 10 of Arkansas' 13.

From here, Arkansas (15-9, 5-6 SEC) steps out of conference to host Florida A&M (9-14, 4-6 MEAC) Wednesday in a 7 p.m. game. LSU (10-15, 2-8 SEC) looks to snap their 8-game losing streak Thursday at 8 p.m. when they host Alabama (15-8, 7-2 SEC).


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