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SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2007
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‘Tentative’ Tide lays egg in SEC opener
Arkansas routs No. 8 Alabama by 27 points

By Noah Trister
Associated Press Writer

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Gary Ervin stood near the Arkansas bench, holding up the No. 1 sign with his left hand. Teammate Charles Thomas strutted off the court behind him.

The Razorbacks led eighth-ranked Alabama by 36 points late in the second half, and they were loving every minute of it.

“We really enjoyed it,” Thomas said. “It was great. We did what we were supposed to do today. We came out and we ran.”

Ervin had 18 points and 11 assists, and Thomas added 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead Arkansas to an 88-61 rout of the Crimson Tide on Saturday. The Razorbacks scored the game’s first 14 points and led by as many as 36 in the second half.

Patrick Beverley and Sonny Weems both scored 18 points for Arkansas.

The Razorbacks (12-3, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) finished with 10 blocked shots, including three by 7-footer Steven Hill in the early going that set the tone. The Crimson Tide (13-2, 0-1) lost its SEC opener for the fourth straight season. Alabama appeared rattled after having so many shots blocked early, and the Razorbacks took advantage.

“I thought we got tentative, very tentative,” Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. “Instead of continuing to take the fight to them, I thought we backed off a little bit.”

Weems, a junior college transfer, gave the Razorbacks a 23-6 lead with a two-handed dunk after Ervin dropped a pretty no-look pass to him in transition. Vincent Hunter’s 3-pointer made it 26-6.

Alabama made eight field goals in the first half and had nine shots blocked.

Alabama’s Alonzo Gee had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Athens High product Richard Hendrix was held to seven points, ending a streak of four straight double-doubles. Ronald Steele had eight points, four assists and four turnovers.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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