ALBANY -- Monroe center Robert Arnold will probably watch what he eats before a game next time.
Prior to Friday night's Region 1-AAA showdown with Crisp County, Arnold admitted some pregame junk food made him feel sluggish early in the contest.
But that feeling faded by the fourth and decisive period.
That's when Arnold scored 12 of his game-high 22 points to lead the unbeaten Tornadoes (6-0) to a 65-47 rout of the visiting Cougars. Arnold, who also grabbed 13 rebounds, was the only Monroe player in double figures as the Tornadoes -- ranked No. 1 in The Herald's Top 5 Poll -- also improved to 2-0 in region play.
"In the first half I wasn't feeling it," Arnold said. "Coach (Marquis Davis) told me that if I was (going to be Herald) Super Six player, then I needed to start playing like it. I played harder in the fourth period and we started clicking. The only way we win is if we blow them out, and that's what we did."
Crisp, which fell to 2-4 and 0-2, was outgunned from the start. Monroe got 6 points in the first period to take a 15-12 into the second quarter.
The Tornadoes used a balanced attack to push the lead to 10, 34-24 at the half. The Monroe defense held Crisp to just three field goals in the third period to lead, 48-37, heading into the final period.
Monroe opened the quarter with a flurry, scoring nine unanswered points to surge to a 57-37 advantage less then two minutes into the period.
Crisp's Calvin Brown hit a field goal to make it 57-38 before Arnold ripped off five straight points and Ted Holsey added a free throw to push Monroe's lead to it's largest of the night at 25, 63-38, with 2:20 to go. Davis then emptied his bench.
"He's our leader, he's the senior and he delivered in the fourth quarter," Davis said of Arnold. "He's got the Super Six label and he needs to earn it by playing like that every night."
Jabori McGee and Alexander Hunt added nine points each for the Tornadoes, who harassed Crisp County's offense all evening.
"We knew coming in that coach (Robert) Cotton likes to play an uptempo style, and we were ready for it on defense," Davis said. "This is, by far, the most complete game we've played all year."
Monroe will face M.L. King of Atlanta on Dec. 19 in the opening round of the U-Save It Christmas Classic.
GAME NOTES: Monroe's Brandon Johnson, who has missed the first six games with a knee injury, has returned to practice and Davis said he will play his first game of the year against M.L. King.
CRISP COUNTY GIRLS 56, MONROE 50:
Mariah Davis scored 17 points to lead Crisp County's Lady Cougars. Monroe was tied 25-25 at the half, and the Lady Tornadoes grabbed a brief 27-25 lead on a basket by Destinee Childs.
Crisp, however, outscored Monroe, 16-3, after that to take a 41-30 lead into the final quarter.
Monroe closed the gap to two points, 44-42 on a 3-pointer by Shanequa Young, but that was as close as the Lady Tornadoes would come in the waning minutes. Young lead Monroe, 2-4 and 1-1, with 12 points, while Kenidra Green added 12 for Crisp, 3-3 and 1-1.