FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Rotnei Clarke scored 19 points and Arkansas overcame a sluggish first half to down Southeast Missouri State 66-56 Wednesday night.
Arkansas (3-0) used a 14-2 run early in the second half to build a 48-35 lead after Lucas Nutt's 3-pointer pulled the Redhawks within one point just after halftime.
"We feel very fortunate to get out of here with the win," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "SEMO came in here and played a really good game, and we knew they were going to do that."
Delvon Johnson added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Razorbacks, and Julysses Nobles had 13 points.
Leon Powell, a former teammate of Johnson's at Indian Hills Community College, had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Redhawks (0-5).
Southeast Missouri trailed by as many as 10 points early in the game before pulling within 34-30 at halftime thanks in large part to outrebounding the Razorbacks 23-15 before the intermission.
The Redhawks finished with 46 rebounds, including 22 on the offensive end. Minus all-SEC forward Marshawn Powell, who missed his second straight game with a foot injury, Arkansas had only 35 rebounds.
"We've got to compete better for rebounds," Pelphrey said. "I think sometimes we try to block shots that we don't have a chance to get, and that shot almost becomes like a pass because it opens up a rebounding lane for someone uncovered."
Southeast Missouri pulled within eight points on a Nate Schulte layup with 36 seconds remaining, but Johnson hit a pair of free throws seconds later to put the game away.
"They had a couple of Arkansas kids, so we knew it was going to be a tough challenge because it was like their homecoming," Johnson said.
The game was also a homecoming for Southeast Missouri coach Dickey Nutt, who was making his first trip back to Arkansas since resigning in 2008 after 13 years at Arkansas State.
The announced crowd of 5,334 was Arkansas' second-smallest in 18 years at Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks, coming off back-to-back losing seasons, have seen three of the seven lowest attendance figures in the building's history in their first three games this year.