LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Julysses Nobles scored a career-high 19 points to lead Arkansas to a 71-62 win over Seton Hall on Wednesday night in the SEC/Big East Invitational at Freedom Hall.
Marshawn Powell added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Rotnei Clarke and Mardracus Wade scored 11 points for the Razorbacks (6-1), who used a late 11-0 run to put away the Pirates.
Jordan Theodore led Seton Hall (3-4) with 24 points but the Pirates ran out of gas after erasing a 17-point lead.
Theodore hit a pair of free throws with 7:05 to go to give Seton Hall a 51-50 lead before Arkansas took off. Powell got it going with a couple of free throws and a spinning layup and Nobles capped the burst with a 3-pointer to put Arkansas up 61-51 with 2:19 to play.
The Pirates fell to 1/3 without leading scorer Jeremy Hazell, who is out until January after breaking his left wrist against Alabama on Nov. 19.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Arkansas coach John Pelphrey and Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard.
Pelphrey is from Paintsville, Ky., and played at Kentucky under former coach Rick Pitino while Willard served as an assistant coach for Pitino at Louisville.
There was little doubt about which side the pro-Kentucky crowd was on. The fans, many of whom stuck around to watch the nightcap between No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 17 Kentucky, chanted Pelphrey’s name as the final seconds ticked off.
The tense moments in the second half hardly seemed possible in the first half as Arkansas used a 16-0 burst to take command.
Delvon Johnson’s tip-in gave the Razorbacks a 31-14 lead and the rout appeared to be on as the Pirates looked as lifeless as the bank of lights high above the court that went out temporarily midway through the first half.
Play was stopped for several minutes while officials waited for the lights to come back on, though the teams did press on in semi-darkness for a few possessions. The game was the first at Freedom Hall since Louisville finished its stay at the arena with a win over No. 1 Syracuse last spring.
By the time the lights were all the way back on, Arkansas was on its way to a 38-26 halftime lead.
The Pirates stormed back behind Theodore and forward Herb Pope, who watched the first half on the bench. A Pope dunk keyed a 15-5 run that ended with the Pirates in the lead for the first time since being up 11-10.
It wouldn’t last, as the Razorbacks collected themselves to win their third straight. Arkansas outrebounded Seton Hall 45-38 and had 42 points off the bench, led by Nobles and Powell.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press