Earlier this week, we found out that the Arkansas Razorbacks would dress only nine players for their first game of the 2009-2010 season. Player suspensions are the culprit. So, you'd think it would be difficult to compete, even against Alcorn State. Turns out, they only needed two players. Sophomore guard Rotnei Clarke poured in 51 points on 15-21 shooting. More impressively, 13 of those 15 makes came from behind the three point line.
Storming the Floor's SEC Correspondent Chris Richardson put it this way:
The Arkansas Razorbacks started their shorthanded season with a bang with a rousing victory 130-68 victory over the Alcorn State Braves. While Arkansas' score is indeed impressive, it was Rotnei Clarke that absolutely stole the show, the bank's money, the women and children, and whatever else wasn't nailed down with an outside shooting display for the ages.
Not only did Clarke break the Arkansas scoring record, he also broke the SEC's most 3-point baskets made in a game record as well. Oddly enough, the record was broken last year as well with Kentucky star Jodie Meeks' 54-point performance, which included 10 bombs from behind the arc. Well, thanks to Rotnei's gunslinger shooting ability, that record now stands at 13.
For those of you worrying John Pelphrey was running up the score, keep in mind the Razorbacks only dressed seven scholarship players. In other words, he didn't have much choice but to play Clarke extended minutes. Here's Clarke's eye-popping stat line. Savor it, because shooting displays like that, even when you can only see it in a numbered format, are still impressive:
FG: 15-21, 3pt FG: 13-17, FT: 8-9, Assists: 5
I'd like to know how he found time for the five assists.
You may have noted that I said it took two players to top Alcorn State's 68 points. The nation's second-leading scorer on Friday night was Jemal Farmer, who managed a dominating 28 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. That's a career performance, and simultaneously a footnote to the evening's top performance. Some guys just can't catch a break.
Let's all take a moment to feel Alcorn State's pain. The SWAC have-nots were on the wrong end of Evan Turner's triple-double in a 100-60 loss to Ohio State earlier this week.