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December 20, 2012
B.J. Young scored a game-high 23 points and Hunter Mickelson added a career-high 16 as Arkansas beat Robert Morris 79-74 at Bud Walton Arena.
Mickelson, the Razorbacks' starting center, sat most of the first half with foul trouble, but made up for his struggled after halftime. He scored 14 points after the intermission, connecting on all six of his field goal attempts.
"In the first half he wasn't moving his feet," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought he adjusted a little bit better in the second half. He's a sophomore and that's something you've got to learn. In the second half he was more active and he was moving. Our guys did a good job of getting him the ball...and he had a big impact on the game."
Mickelson scored 10 points in the first 6:33 of the second half, helping Arkansas (6-4) take the lead for good.
Trailing by four, the Razorbacks used a 20-5 run early in the half to stake their biggest lead. Arkansas hit 67 percent from the field in the second half.
"Any time you can score quick, it gets your confidence up," Mickelson said. "It was early in the second half, so I was hopeful I was going to get a couple of more opportunities."
Arkansas had some chances to put distance between itself and the Colonials, but made only 13 of its 26 free throw attempts and committed 26 personal fouls.
Robert Morris (8-5) capitalized on the Razorbacks' mistakes. The Colonials hit 15 of 18 free throw attempts after halftime and pulled within three points on a pair of Lucky Jones free throws with 2:50 remaining, but never got any closer.
Marshawn Powell's slam dunk with 1:21 remaining extended the Razorbacks' lead to 74-68 after Mike McFadden missed a lay-up on the other end.
Powell had 12 points and nine rebounds for Arkansas, and Mardracus Wade added 14 points. The Razorbacks' starters combined to score 65 points.
"Some guys grew up in front of our eyes," Anderson said. "When they cut the lead to three, our guys didn't panic. They came back and made plays and got the ball to the right people. We didn't falter and finished out the game, and got the win."
The Colonials led by as many as eight points in the first half, but Arkansas used a 10-0 run to regain the lead 27-25.
From there, the teams exchanged the lead four times before the break. The Razorbacks took a 35-34 halftime lead on a Coty Clarke free throw with 45 seconds left in the half.
Robert Morris played the majority of the first half without its leading scorer, Velton Jones.
The senior, who was averaging 12.3 points per game entering the contest, picked up two offensive fouls in the first two minutes and a third personal foul with more than 13 minutes remaining before halftime.
"Velton is a guy who really gets us going offensively, whether it's scoring for himself or making plays for others," Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said. "When you lose a guy like that for such an extended amount of time, it's going to make your game plan difficult to execute."
Jones picked up his fourth foul with 14:28 left in the second half and finished the game with three points.
Coron Williams and Karvel Anderson led Robert Morris with 17 points each.
The Colonials had a five-game win streak snapped. Arkansas has won two straight.
Technical Fouls: L. Jones
Officials: John Cahill, Michael Stephens, Ron Groover
Robert Morris NEWS