The Razorbacks won their ninth straight game, and improved to 11-1 on the season today when they came from behind to beat the Mean Green of North Texas 86-75. Michael Washington continued his streak of awesome, scoring a career high 34 points and pulling down 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.
“Michael Washington was obviously great today. We wanted to throw it to him so many times that his hands got sore.” Pelphrey said after the game. ” He also needs to be commended for stepping to the line and hitting his free throws today.”
Many were worried about this game against North Texas, sandwiched between games against top-5 ranked teams and despite being a home game for the Razorbacks, located at the not-quite-as-familiar Alltel Arena in Little Rock.
Arkansas was coming off their biggest win in years, just knocking off 4th ranked Oklahoma. Plus the Mean Green came into the game 8-5, and anything but a cream-puff opponent.
The Razorbacks started sluggish as well, falling behind by as many as 8 in the first half, and went into the locker room down by two points.
But the Razorbacks rallied in the second half, led by Washington and strong performances by Stefan Welsh and freshman point guard Courtney Fortson. Welsh has been on fire lately as well, contributing 19 points in the game on 3-7 shooting from 3 point range.
Next up for the Razorbacks is the team that Arkansans hate more than anyone outside of the SEC, and arguably more than any other team in the world, and that is Texas. Texas is expected to move into the top 5 in the country this week after several teams ahead of them lost in the last few days.
“If Oklahoma is not the class of the Big 12, then it has to be Texas. They are really deep in the frontcourt, have a great shooter in (A.J.) Abrams and a tremendous athlete in (Damion) James. They can take their show on the road and win in a tough environment as they have already proven this year with their win at Wisconsin.” John Pelphrey said after the game.
Bring em on, we say. (upside-down hook-em horns sign flashing.)
Player of the game Mike Wash. Again. Michael Washington has been everything anyone could have ever hope this year, plus about 1000. He’s been the Razorback’s go-to scorer for the year, and has stayed out of the foul trouble that has plagued him in years past. 34 points and 11 rebounds. The guy is unstoppable lately.
Step-up Player of the Game: Stefan Welsh. A lot of people gave Welsh a lot of crap early in the year, though I’m not sure why. After a pretty tough year last year, not many expected Welsh to emerge as an offensive leader for the Razorbacks this year, and Welsh has been on his game of in a big way. Welsh continued to prove he can score on a regular basis against North Texas, and his shooting, especially from 3 point range has kept defenses honest, and helped allow Mike Wash to do his thing inside.