FULTON -- With the Anderson Arena floor due to its first complete refinish since reinstalled, William Woods (5-4) ensured that the memory would be outstanding, blasting past Arkansas Baptist College (3-6) 81-52.
Henry Shannon III was one of three Owls in double figures on the night, adding 12 rebounds to his 12 points for a double-double.
Woods controlled the opening tap, but Arkansas Baptist scored first, forcing a turnover. Charles Freeman converted a jumper after a steal by Terrence Stewart.
After a bang-bang pair of turnovers, Joey Brown IV found Ty'Shon Pannell wide open for 3 to put Woods up 3-2, sparking a 12-0 run for WWU.
Jabari White knocked down a layup at the 13:47 mark to briefly interrupt WWU's run, but the Owls held on to an eight-point cushion for the bulk of the first half.
Woods extended its lead as far as 14 down the stretch and took an 11-point cushion into the locker room. Francis Okwuosah punctuated the Owls' lead at 26-12, turning a vast block and rebound into a layup on the opposite end, collecting a pass from Brown with 4:59 on the clock and forcing a Buffaloes timeout.
After the break, WWU comfortably held on to its lead, withstanding a brief comeback push by Arkansas Baptist. Nate Braden found the mark from distance with 15:40 on the clock to pull ABC within single digits at 43-34.
His heroics were short-lived, however, as Pannell picked his pocket and found Okuosah for a wide-open triple with 14:56 to play, putting the Owls back in front by 12. Okwuosah then forced a steal and dished to Lavel Harris for a driving layup.
Frustration crept into the Arkansas Baptist ranks as Woods extended to a 20-point lead, finally reaching a boiling point with just under eight minutes on the clock. After a pair of free throws by James Emberton, the Buffaloes were fortunate to avoid a technical foul as a chair was slammed against the wall in the bench area as the team gathered for a called timeout.
After the timeout, Woods held Arkansas Baptist scoreless for 4:41 and turned a 17-point lead into a 29-point cushion. Xaivier Iyeyemi knocked down a pair of big triples as the Owls coasted to the win.
WWU outshot the Buffaloes handily on the night, hitting a 49.3 percent (33-67) clip from the floor and holding ABC to a 31.4 percent (16-51) mark. In addition to winning the turnover battle 19-14, Woods had a 32-9 scoring edge.
At 3 p.m. next Saturday, the Owls head to Springfield for a matchup against future AMC foe Baptist Bible College