FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The FGCU men’s basketball team ran into a hot-shooting Arkansas club that used a 20-0 run in the opening five minutes of the game and 14 three-pointers to defeat the Eagles 90-47 on Monday night in front of 10,778 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
The loss drops FGCU to 2-2 on the season heading into its third contest of the young season against a BCS opponent. The Eagles will welcome ACC foe Miami to Alico Arena on Saturday, Nov. 27 for a 7:05 tip. The Razorbacks improve to 2-0 with the win.
“Give Arkansas a ton of credit. They were firing on all cylinders tonight and we obviously didn’t do enough to slow them down,” said head coach Dave Balza. “We struggled on both ends of the court and they had a lot to do with that.”
Senior Reed Baker (Naples, Fla./Bishop Verot HS/Michigan) led FGCU in scoring for the third straight game with a game-high 14 points, including 12 in the second half. Baker has finished in double figures all four games this season and has reached the double-digit point plateau in three of four second halves.
The Razorbacks dominated inside and outside, as its top three interior players supplied 26 points and 27 rebounds in the absence of preseason All-SEC first team forward Marshawn Powell who sat out due to injury. Marvell Waithe led the Arkansas big men with 10 points and a game-high 13 boards.
Seven different players helped Arkansas drill 14-of-30 shots from long range, as the Razorbacks shot 56 percent (35-63) for the game, including a staggering 64 percent (21-33) in the second half. Regarded as their premiere shooter in the nation by several media outlets, junior Rotnei Clark sank four three-pointers, including three during the team’s 20-0 run, en route to equaling Baker’s game-high 14 points.
On the flip side, FGCU managed a measly 25 percent clip (15-59) from the floor and sank just 2-of-19 from three. The Eagles did reach double-digit offensive rebounds for the 31st time in their last 34 games, but lost the battle on the boards, 42-34.
After a dunk during a put-back by junior Tim Snyder (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Hillsborough CC) to open the game, Arkansas reeled off 20 straight points, including 19 by the first media timeout, to take a commanding 20-2 lead. The Razorback run was fueled by five three-pointers, including three in a row from Clarke.
The 20-0 run was finally put to an end by another Snyder put-back, as FGCU fought to cut the deficit to 12, 27-15, with 7:36 left in the first half. With a plethora of chances to cut the Arkansas lead to single-digits, the Eagles went on a major offensive slide, turning the ball over five times and going 0-for-7 from the field over their next 10 possessions.
Arkansas scored the final seven points of the first half to take a 37-18 lead at the break.
Redshirt sophomore and A-Sun preseason All-Conference choice Anthony Banks (Lantana, Fla./Santaluces HS) recorded the first bucket of the second half before Arkansas put away any thought of an FGCU comeback by embarking on a 24-2 run that featured 18 straight points by the Razorbacks. The end result was a 63-22 Arkansas lead with just over 12 minutes to play.
Neither team took good care of the basketball, as they combined for 45 turnovers. Arkansas overcame its hefty turnover total by passing out 23 assists while the Eagles managed just six helpers.
Snyder finished with eight points and a team-high seven boards for FGCU, while freshman Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) had seven points.
FGCU will return from Thanksgiving by hosting the Hurricanes on Saturday, Nov. 27 at Alico Arena. The meeting will be the second between the two programs and Greyhound Track will serve as the game’s presenting sponsor.