No. 4 Alabama Jumps Over Arkansas, 61-51
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) _ Reserve Antoine Pettway scored 14 points and Erwin Dudley had 11 points and 14 rebounds as No. 4 Alabama began defense of its Southeastern Conference title with a 61-51 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
The Crimson Tide (11-1), which had lost four of the last five meetings, survived a 38 percent shooting performance mostly because the Razorbacks (5-7) were even worse in the SEC opener for both teams.
It was a rematch of sorts for the Tide. First-year Arkansas coach Stan Heath led Kent State to an upset of Alabama in the second round of last season’s NCAA tournament.
Arkansas closed to 27-25 on Carl Baker’s 3-pointer with 16:45 left in the second half. Then, the Tide got two 3-pointers apiece from Pettway and Mo Williams in a five-minute span to key an 18-6 run.
Arkansas, which shot just 35 percent and made 12-of-22 free throws, couldn’t come closer than eight points after that and lost its third straight game.
Pettway hit 4-of-7 3-points as the Tide got 27 points off the bench.
Kendrick Davis led Arkansas with 13 points while Jonathon Modica and Dionisio Davis had 10 points apiece. Gomez and Modica also had three steals each.
The Razorbacks’ seven losses have come to teams with a combined record of 67-15.
Both teams had long shooting droughts in the first half, but Arkansas were the worst at the end. The Razorbacks missed their final nine shots of the half as Alabama built a 25-17 lead.
Alonzo Lane capped a 12-2 run with a reverse layup with 8:30 left for a 16-11 lead, the last Razorbacks field goal of the half.
Emmett Thomas and Kenny Walker hit two quick baskets inside and Pettway had two 3-pointers as the Tide closed on a 14-1 run.
Kennedy Winston, the state’s Mr. Basketball last year, did his part to spark an inconsistent Tide offense. The 6-foot-7 forward had four points, two assists and forced two turnovers in his first five minutes.
Winston had missed the first 11 games while the NCAA reviewed improper benefits he allegedly received while playing AAU basketball.