Razorbacks hold off UC-Davis 68-59

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In a game characterized by mini-scoring runs by both teams, four Razorbacks finished in double figures and the Arkansas men’s basketball team notched a 68-59 victory over California-Davis Thursday evening at Bud Walton Arena. Courtney Fortson totaled 16 points and Michael Sanchez recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.Stefan Welsh and Michael Washington rounded out the double-digit scorers for Arkansas with 14 and 11 points, respectively. UC-Davis was led by Joe Harden’s 16 points and Mark Payne added 11 points for the visiting Aggies.

Arkansas (2-0) opened the second half scoring eight of the first 10 points to take a 44-29 lead, but the visitors scored the next eight to get back within seven. Rotnei Clarke pushed the Razorbacks’ lead to 10 by converting on free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt.

Dominic Calegari knocked in a three-pointer for the Aggies and Arkansas led 48-44with 13:45 left in the game. It was the closest UC-Davis had been since being down 14-10 early in the first half.

A short spurt capped by a pair of Clarke free throws and a fast-break lay in by Stefan Welsh gave Arkansas a 59-46 lead, but the Aggies got a three-point basket from Vince Oliver on the ensuing possession to keep the home team in their sights.

A three-pointer by Davis’ Adam Malik put the visitors within six and Arkansas led 63-57 with 3:11 to play. Clarke scored a layup on a run out with just over a minute left to ice the game for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas held the Aggies to 32.7 percent shooting from the field and held a 40-16 advantage in the paint. The home team’s size and hustle also led to a 44-29 advantage on the boards. Sanchez’s 12 rebounds matched his total from the season opener.

The win over UC-Davis was the 200th for Arkansas in Bud Walton Arena. In its 16th year in the building, Arkansas is now 200-44 for a winning percentage of .820. Since 1958, Arkansas has a home winning percentage of .785 in its last two arenas, including a 304-94 mark in Barnhill Arena from 1958-93.

After a three-point basket by the Aggies’ Kyle Brucculeri to open the game’s scoring, the Razorbacks went on a 9-0 run to take the early advantage. The streak was capped by a Washington three-point play with 15:55 remaining in the first half.

The visitors from Davis closed the gap to three and trailed 13-10 before Arkansas enjoyed another nine-point spurt that lifted the team to its first double-digit lead. Sanchez scored the final four points of the run with a pair of dunks, the last of which forced the Aggies to call a timeout with 9:38 left on the first-half clock. The Razorbacks led, 22-10.

Arkansas took its largest lead of the first half with the help of an 11-0 run. Fortson knocked in nine of the Razorbacks’ points during the stretch. His three-pointer at the 3:58 mark gave the home team a 17-point lead, 33-16. It was Arkansas’ only three-point field goal of the game.

The Razorbacks struggled from behind the three-point line against Davis. Arkansas connected on just one of its 13 attempts from behind the arc.

UC-Davis (1-3) responded with a run of its own, cutting into the Arkansas lead on the heels of an 11-2 scoring stretch. Harden scored the final four points of the run for the Aggies to cut their deficit to eight.

Fortson led all scorers during the first 20 minutes of play with 12 points, connecting on five of his eight attempts. Brucculeri had nine points during the first half for UC-Davis.

At the break, Arkansas held a 36-27 lead.

The Razorbacks return to action Nov. 20 for a contest against Missouri State, the team’s first road game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from Springfield, Mo. Visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information.