FAYETTEVILLE - There was not a better cure for what illed Arkansas basketball than Northwestern State.

FAYETTEVILLE - There was not a better cure for what illed Arkansas basketball than Northwestern State.


One of the worst teams in Division I were a near-perfect tonic for a Razorbacks team smarting from a ruinous trip to New York City last week. That trip saw Arkansas loss twice in the Barclays Center to Georgia Tech, a game Arkansas never led, an Stanford, a game in which Arkansas surrendered a 20-point lead.


So the sigh of relief was nearly literal when Anthlon Bell’s jumper 3 minutes, 39 seconds into the game broke an Arkansas stretch of more than nine minutes without a field goal, dating back to that Stanford loss. Arkansas had Friday lost a 17-point advantage with less than seven minutes to play ultimately losing by three.


That made the first game since, Tuesday against Northwestern State, all the more important. Burying the bad taste was paramount, especially a team as bad as the Demons. And, sure enough, Northwestern State was as awful as expectd. The Razorbacks scored the most points since November 13, 2009 against Alcorn State with a 117-78 win Tuesday night.


Arkansas (3-3) hit triple-digits with still media timeouts left, at 8:10. The lead reached as high as 46 points and Arkansas finished with seven players in double figures. Nine of the 11 who played scored, with only walk-ons Jake Mosimon and Tristan Simmons, who both entered with less than a minute left, going without.


It took Arkansas less than nine minutes to get a double-digit lead again, much the same as Friday. But for a couple minutes that followed, Stanford-redux was on the slate. Northwestern State (1-7) went on a 14-2 run halfway through the first half to turn the Razorbacks’ 24-13 lead to a 27-26, Demons.


But a team with its lone win having come against a Division II opponent had no chance of maintaining that sort of consistency, especially playing its sixth game in 15 days. Arkansas responded with a 15-2 stretch powered by 15 Northwestern State first-half turnovers.


"Got off to a slow start, little sluggish probably coming off the New York trip," coach Mike Anderson said. "But as we got a nice little rhythm, our defense really contributed some offense for us. I thought our defense was our energy and I thought we wore them down."


It became worse from there, Arkansas outscoring Northwestern State 63-40 in the second half. Arkansas led for almost 36 of the game’s 40 minutes.


"Ran into the wall," Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy said. "I’m sorry we didn’t give Arkansas a better test. I was just really frustrated with the number of turnovers. Last year we played up here we had five turnovers going into the last minute of the game. Multiply that times five tonight. That’s pretty rough."


Northwestern State lost by just eight points last year, but had point guard Jalan West, a potential All-American and preseason first-team All-Southland Conference selection. West tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the team’s opener and the Demons have lost another starter and a primary reserve since, too.


The Razorbacks played without sophomore forward Trey Thompson, who has now missed the team’s last two games after suffering an ankle injury against Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving. There is no timetable for his return as coach Mike Anderson said Thompson’s status was day-to-day.


His absence was clear even against a team like Northwestern State, even if the numbers didn’t back it up. Arkansas’ roster was limited to three frontcourt players without Thompson - 6-foot-10 Moses Kingsley, 6-10 Willy Kouassi and 6-7 Keaton Miles. Those three combined to play 66 minutes, scoring 44 points and collecting 22 rebounds.


Kingsley had a double-double, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Jabril Durham joined him with a career-high 14 points and another 10 assists. But it was Kouassi who shined the brightest.


The graduate transfer from Kennesaw State scored 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting and had nine rebounds in his 18 minutes. It was the most significant game Kouassi had in his short career at Arkansas with career highs across the board.


"Team MVP, Willy Kouassi," Durham said.


Northwestern State guard Zeek Woodley entered as the eighth-highest scorer in Division I, averaging 23.8 points per game. He had a game-high 26 Tuesday.


Northwestern State made 10 3-pointers and shot 47 percent from the floor, but 25 turnovers was the biggest blight. Arkansas countered, scoring 39 points off those.


Arkansas next plays Friday at Wake Forest.