Razor-breaking weekend

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — From Rotnei to Ryan, from Fayetteville to Waco and from courts to courses, University of Arkansas student-athletes shined in a highlight-filled weekend for the Hogs. The Razorbacks are coming off a weekend full of record-breaking and noteworthy accomplishments.

It started on Friday with sophomore basketball guard Rotnei Clarke. Recently named one of the top shooters in the nation by FoxSports.com, Clarke backed up that billing by setting Arkansas, Southeastern Conference and Bud Walton Arena records in the season-opening 130-68 win over Alcorn State.

Clarke scored a school-record 51 points, and set school and SEC records by making 13 three-pointers. Those are also Bud Walton Arena records, along with the 71 points the Hogs tallied in the first half.

Almost lost in Clarke’s shooting, which included going 15-of-21 overall and 13-of-17 on threes, were the double-double performances of newcomers Jemal Farmer and Marshawn Powell. Farmer, a junior college transfer, had 28 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals with no turnovers. Powell, a freshman, had 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Saturday morning, the men’s cross country team, ranked No. 22 in the nation, won the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco, Texas, and earned an automatic bid to Monday’s NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. The Razorbacks won with 47 points to top Texas and Lamar. Arkansas has won 30 of the last 32 South Central Regional titles.

Head coach Chris Bucknam’s club was paced by Dorian Ulrey and Solomon Haile, who finished first and second, respectively.

The women’s cross country team, ranked No. 28, finished third in the NCAA South Central Regional, but Alyssa Allison and Miranda Walker were among the top four individuals not on automatic qualifying teams and earned spots in Monday’s NCAA Championship.

Saturday evening in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the Hog football team won its third straight game, 56-20 over Troy. Arkansas is bowl eligible at 6-4 heading into Saturday’s tilt against Mississippi State in Little Rock.

Against Troy, quarterback Ryan Mallett tied his own school record by throwing for five touchdowns. He was 23-of-30 for 405 yards. In the process, he became the school’s single-season passing leader with 2,882 yards, set records for consecutive passes without an interception (141) and for 300-yard passing games in a season (four), and tied the record with four career 300-yard passing games.

Dennis Johnson also set a school record for career kick return yards with 1,799 on 71 attempts.

On Sunday, Jasmine Norton, who earlier in the week set an SEC record by earning SEC Freshman Volleyball Player of the Week honors for the fifth time, recorded 24 kills and a career-high 21 digs in a 3-2 win at Alabama. Setter Cassie Clarke, Rotnei’s sister, made her first start and dished out 38 assists.

Also on Sunday, the women’s basketball team opened 1-0 with an 87-78 win over Alcorn State in Hot Springs. Sophomore Ashley Daniels scored a career and game-high 21 points, and freshman Sarah Watkins had 20 points, all in the second half.

Watkins was 9-of-11 shooting while Daniels was 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-9 at the line.

This week promises to be another entertaining stretch as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams take to the road.

Arkansas plays Louisville in the Hall of Fame Showcase on Tuesday in St. Louis, Mo. The 6:30 p.m. game is being televised by ESPN. The women’s basketball team faces its first road test of the season on Wednesday night when it takes on SMU in Dallas.

On the weekend, multiple sports heat up again with home volleyball matches on Friday night against Auburn (7 p.m.) and on Sunday afternoon against Georgia (1:30 p.m.). John Pelphrey’s men’s basketball team returns home on Friday night against Appalachian State (7 p.m.). Bobby Petrino and the Razorback football team closes out its home slate on Saturday morning at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Game time for the Hogs and the Mississippi State Bulldogs is 11:21 a.m. Tom Collen’s women’s basketball team makes its Bud Walton Arena regular season debut on Sunday at 3 p.m. against East Tennessee State. In addition, Coach Jeff Poppell takes his 4-1 swimming and diving team to West Lafayette, Ind., to participate in the Purdue Invitational. The meet runs Friday through Sunday.

Be sure to check ArkansasRazorbacks.com for all the latest on all 19 Razorback sports, including live event streaming of home events.