Early Scoring Runs Send Hogs Past Portland State

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Portland State scored two of the first three baskets of the game, but with Dontell Jefferson keying the break, it was all Arkansas after that as the Razorbacks opened the season with a 107-69 victory over the Vikings in Bud Walton Arena on Friday.

After a turnover, Juma Kamara hit a three and Scott Morrison scored on a layup two minutes later to give PSU (0-1) a 5-3 lead with 17:24 left in the first half. The next time the Vikings scored, at the 8:36 mark, Jake Schroeder’s three cut a 23-point Arkansas lead to 33-13.

Arkansas scored 11 straight with four from Darian Townes to go up 14-7. After a PSU three cut it to 14-10, the Razorbacks went on a 19-0 run over the next five minutes to take control at 33-10. Arkansas had four steals during the run with Charles Thomas scoring seven points and Jonathon Modica six.

The Hogs pushed the lead to 31 at 55-24 on a Townes dunk and led 60-29 at the half.

UA shot 56.4 percent in the first period (22-39), 50 percent on threes (5-10), 84.6 percent at the line (11-13), had a 24-14 rebounding edge, recorded 10 steals and four blocked shots, and had 17 assists with six turnovers while forcing 15 turnovers. PSU shot 36.7 percent (11-30), but was seven-of-12 on threes (.583).

Modica had 14 points and three steals in the first period, connecting on five-of-nine shots. Ronnie Brewer made seven-of-11 shots, including three-of-five threes, and had 20 points, two assists and four steals.

In the second half, the Hogs got even hotter. UA shot 65.5 percent (19-29) in the second period and finished at 60.3 percent for the game (41-68).

Jefferson had nine assists in the first half and finished with a school-record matching 15. Kareem Reid had 15 against Jackson State in 1996.

Brewer took just five shots in the second half and finished with a career-high 24 points on nine-of-16 shooting. He also had five steals.

Thomas finished with career highs of 20 points, seven rebounds and six offensive rebounds. He was seven-of-12 from the floor.

Townes had 14 points, eight rebounds and a career-high seven blocked shots. He made seven-of-10 shots. Modica finished with 16 points on six-of-10 shooting. Sean McCurdy had seven points, and Steven Hill and Cyrus McGowan six each.

In addition to the 15 assists with just four turnovers, Jefferson had eight points and a career-high five rebounds.

Schroeder made 10-of-14 shots, including six-of-eight threes, to lead PSU with 26 points.

The Razorbacks play No. 3 Connecticut Monday at 10:30 p.m. (Central) in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The game is being televised live on ESPN2.

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