Arkansas 102, Alcorn St. 59

Wednesday, December 29th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Joe Johnson scored 16 points in his inaugural game with the Razorbacks on Tuesday to lead Arkansas to a 102-59 victory over Alcorn State. The 6-8 Johnson, who became eligible late last week, also pulled down six rebounds and had six steals and five assists. He made his first shot 21/4 minutes into the game -- a 3-pointer from the left corner -- and logged 7 first-half points on 3-for-6 shooting.

Johnson finished 7-for-12, making both of his 3-point attempts. Carl Baker scored 15 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Walker scored 14 and Teddy Gipson added 11 points. Arkansas (7-4) led 55-31 at the half and kept Alcorn (5-6) at a safe distance from start to finish. The Razorback lead hovered at about the 24-point halftime margin for most of the second period. But after about the 6:00 mark, Arkansas broke loose, starting with an Alonzo Lane lay up, and put together a 20-1 run to finish the game.

For the game, Arkansas forced 36 Alcorn turnovers. "We have been working on our match up traps in practice," Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said. "We did an excellent job of forcing some turnovers. When you add a guy like Johnson and put in a guy like (Carl) Gomez, that can play some defense, it makes a big difference."

Arkansas built a 14-3 lead by the 15:34 mark of the first half. In the two minutes that followed, T.J. Cleveland hit a 3 from the left corner, Gomez had a steal after the in bounds and Walker had a layup. Baker followed a Braves turnover with a lay up and Johnson slammed one home for 23-6. "I was really proud of the way Carl and Joe played," Richardson said. "Joe is a big-time player. He reminds me a lot of Paul Pressey. When he is on the floor, he makes everyone around him better. I think Carl is really coming along as a player. With those two young players, we are going to have a great future."

The Razorbacks' lead reached the 20-point mark on a Jason Gilbert 3 from the top of the key with 8:10 left in the half for 34-14. Richardson substituted freely in the first half, and all 13 team members saw action. Walker led the Razorbacks with 8 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the opening period. Alcorn State's Marcus Fleming scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds and Wallace Harris scored 13 points. New Razorback Larry Satchell came in at the 7:58 mark went 2-for-2 from the field and 1-of-3 from the line for 5 points. Lane finished with 6 points.