Ervin, Arkansas rout Alabama in SEC openerJan 7, 2007 - 12:16 AM FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (Ticker) -- Gary Ervin and Arkansas showed Alabama that life in the Southeastern Conference will not be so easy this season.
Ervin scored 18 points and dished out 11 assists as the Razorbacks cruised to an 88-61 upset of the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide in the conference opener for both schools.
Alabama (13-2, 0-1 SEC West) entered with a six-game winning streak, outscoring its opponents by an average of 23.5 points over that stretch.
But the Crimson Tide were greeted rudely to the SEC by the Razorbacks (12-3, 1-0 West), who opened a 24-point halftime lead and never looked back.
"I credit this performance to everyone," Ervin said. "We did a good job of carrying practice into the game. (The win) sends a message that we know we can be a good team, because a lot of people may not know that. This was a statement game for us."
"What an outstanding game," Arkansas coach Stan Heath added. "I couldn't be prouder of our team. I want to give credit to my assistant coaches. They did a great job of preparing our team for this game."
Patrick Beverley and Sonny Weems each scored 18 points for Arkansas, which opened the contest with a 14-0 run and improved to 23-20 all-time against Alabama.
"Words can't describe how we played today," Beverley said. "We were out to show we are an elite team."
Reserve Vincent Jackson drilled a 3-pointer to make it 26-6 midway through the first half, and the Razorbacks extended their lead to 44-19 with a minute left in the half when Ervin converted a layup off a fast break.
"The first eight minutes of the first half and the last two minutes of the first half, we were pathetic," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We were absolutely pathetic."
Charles Thomas scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Razorbacks, who shot 52 percent (35-of-68) from the floor while committing just seven turnovers.
"We really enjoyed it," Thomas said. "It was great. We did what we were supposed to do today. We came out and we ran."
Arkansas dominated on the defensive end as well, limiting Alabama to 36 percent (22-of-62) shooting, including just 4-of-18 from the arc. Razorbacks center Steven Hill blocked four shots and Darian Townes had four blocks off the bench.
Alonzo Gee scored 14 points to pace the Crimson Tide, who fell to 35-39 in SEC openers.
"I thought we got tentative, very tentative," Gottfried said. "Instead of continuing to take the fight to them, I thought we backed off a little bit."
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