AUSTIN (Sports Network) – Jordan Hamilton led the way with 16 points, as the 12th-ranked Texas Longhorns defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks, 79-46, at Frank Erwin Center.
Gary Johnson posted 13 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns (12-2), who have won six straight games and improved to 9-0 at home this season. That unblemished mark, however, will be heavily tested on Saturday when the Longhorns host No. 8 Connecticut. Texas will commence its Big 12 slate at Texas Tech on January 11.
“We definitely wanted to get the win tonight and we definitely had to come out stronger,” said freshman guard Cory Joseph. “In the last three games we let the other team create the tempo, and we definitely wanted to come out from the jump, play hard and execute.”
Jeff Peterson and Rotnei Clarke both scored 11 points for Arkansas (10-3), which saw its three-game win streak halted. The Razorbacks begin their SEC slate on Saturday at home versus Tennessee.
“We didn’t anticipate ourselves playing this poorly,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “But we have to credit Texas for how well they played. They did an excellent job out on the court and unfortunately we did not play well at all.”
Though no longer conference rivals, these teams were foes in the old — and now defunct — Southwest Conference for most of the 20th century. Despite this loss, Arkansas still leads the all-time series, 86-67.
Midway through the first half, Texas moved ahead by nine, 17-8, after a three- pointer by Hamilton. From there, the Longhorns went on an 11-2 run, which was capped by Tristan Thompson’s layup for a 28-10 lead with just over eight minutes to go.
After Peterson’s consecutive free throws brought the visitors within 11 at 31-20, Texas hit two straight three-pointers — one by J’Covan Brown and the other by Hamilton — for a 37-20 advantage with two minutes to play before the intermission.
Texas led by 13 at the break.
Less than four minutes into the second half, a dunk by Thompson gave Texas a 47-27 lead. After Clarke missed on the other end, Joseph’s three-pointer ensued and the rout was on.
Thompson ended with 14 points and seven boards…Jai Lucas added 13 points for Texas, which shot 50 percent (9-of-18) from beyond the arc…Arkansas was held to a 34.7 percent clip overall from the floor, including a 3-for-13 effort from three-point range…Texas won the battle of the glass, 42-32.