AUBURN, Ala. – Behind 20-point performances by sophomore BJ Young and junior Marshawn Powell the University of Arkansas basketball team walked away with a hard fought road win at Auburn, 83-75, on Wednesday night at Auburn Arena.
Young scored 25 points off 8-of-16 shooting, picking up seven of his points off free throws as he drained 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. Powell proved to be a force to be reckoned with, racking up 20 points and a game-high nine boards, nearly grabbing a double-double. Juniors Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott each chipped in 11 points as four Razorbacks reached double-digits. Scott was nearly unstoppable from beyond the arc, going 3-for-4 for nine points.
“This was a highly contested game where two teams really wanted to get a win,” Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. “Having Marshawn out there really helped us and BJ showed us what he is capable of. It was a good win, but hopefully it is just a start for them.”
The Razorback defense consistently pestered the Tigers as Arkansas did what they do best – force turnovers. Arkansas forced 16 turnovers that resulted in 21 Razorback points.
The Razorbacks started out the first half strong by taking an early lead over the Tigers. Their largest lead of the first came with 13:01 on the clock as Scott knocked down a three-pointer (17-8) to silence the Auburn crowd. Arkansas would hold its nine-point lead for only a short while as the Auburn offense finally started to get going. The Tigers would go on a 14-5 run to tie the game at 24 after a pair of made free shots by Auburn’s Frankie Sullivan. Auburn and Arkansas would battle it out for the remainder of the half, with the Tigers edging Arkansas by two points for the halftime lead, 35-33.
Young led the Razorbacks scoring in double digits with 10 points, one rebound, one block and one assist. Scott recorded an eight-point first half as he went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
The Razorbacks returned for the second half by going on a 7-0 run as Wade, Young and Powell chipped in to give Arkansas a 40-35 lead. The Tigers would go on a 5-0 run to tie the game after a jumper by Sullivan. The Razorbacks would take back the lead with 14:57 remaining after Young hit a long three-pointer, 45-43. Arkansas would continue to grow their lead until it reached its peak at 12 points with 9:31 remaining, 59-47 after Wade buried a three-pointer to send a hush across the Auburn crowd.
The Tigers weren’t done yet as they would chip away at the Razorback lead. Auburn would come as close as three (61-58), but the Arkansas offense wasn’t done yet, going on an 11-4 run capped by a layup by Powell would restore the Arkansas lead to double-digits, 72-62, with just 2:45 remaining. The Razorbacks would hang tough on the defensive end and Young would score the final five points for the Razorbacks as Arkansas finished off the Tigers 83-75.
Arkansas returns to Bud Walton Arena for a two-game home stand that begins on Saturday against the Missouri Tigers at 3 p.m. on ESPN. Arkansas will then face the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.