Bell leads Arkansas past SIU-Edwardsville 99-65

KURT VOIGT (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Anthlon Bell had 18 points and Michael Qualls added 16 as five players finished in double figures in a season-opening 99-65 win for Arkansas over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Alandise Harris added 15 points off the bench for the Razorbacks, who have now won 15 straight games at home. It was their 18th straight season-opening win.

Arkansas (1-0), which was 18-1 in Bud Walton Arena last season, trailed early against the Cougars before pulling away for the convincing win.

Mardracus Wade had 11 points, while Coty Clarke finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Bell was 5 of 6 on 3-pointers for the Razorbacks, who were 8 of 16 overall from behind the arc.

Tim Johnson led SIU-Edwardsville (0-1), which was 9-18 last season, with 13 points.

Arkansas led 56-27 at halftime, charging back from an early deficit to close out the half on a 49-17 run.

SIU-Edwardsville was unable to get closer than 22 points in the second half while third-year coach Mike Anderson sent 13 players in to the game for the Razorbacks, with 11 players scoring.

Arkansas scored 33 points off 23 turnovers by the Cougars, and it shot 52 percent (33 of 64) in the win. Harris led the effort for the Razorbacks' bench, which finished with 47 points.

Arkansas hit just 4 of 14 shots to open the game and trailed 10-7 in the early going after SIU-Edwardsville went on a 10-0 run, capped by a putback by Ray Lester.

It was the last time the Cougars would lead - or even be close, for that matter.

The Razorbacks, sparked by Bell, Harris and Qualls, followed with a 39-6 run to go up 46-16 late in the first half. Bell hit three of his five 3-pointers and had 12 points in the half, while Harris came off the bench and had 11 points.

It was Qualls, however, who brought the Bud Walton Arena crowd to life with a pair of first-half dunks. The sophomore's first was a spectacular one-handed tomahawk over 6-foot-10 SIU-Edwardsville forward Keaton Jackson, and it gave Arkansas a 45-16 lead.

Qualls followed with a steal and a thundering dunk of the two-handed variety moments later, pushing the Razorbacks' lead to 56-24.

After struggling to shoot to open the game, Arkansas hit 15 of its next 21 shots of the first half and was 19 of 35 (54.3 percent) overall.

The Razorbacks return to action when they host Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 15.

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