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Arkansas Razorbacks 84, Milwaukee Panthers 54: Christmas Vacation


Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was exciting.

This was a game in which the outcome was never in question, but Arkansas didn't play well enough to really make the night seem satisfactory until the very last minutes. The Razorbacks didn't play particularly well especially in the first half, but they were still much better than Milwaukee.

Arkansas led at halftime 35-24 despite shooting just 39.4% and 11.1% from three. They did blow the game open late in the second half, scoring 14 straight points over a 4-minute span to push the lead from 17 points to 31.

Bobby Portis did continue his run of playing some really strong basketball, recording a double-double tonight with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He's scored at least 18 points in each game this month and has averaged 8.6 rebounds per game through the five games. He's been fantastic.

Michael Qualls has been right there with him for the most part. Despite not throwing down the spectacular dunks with quite the same frequency we saw last year (although he's had a few this season), he still has scored in double figures in all but two games this season. He scored 17 against Milwaukee along with four rebounds and two assists. So far this season his shooting percentages are up across the board from where they were last year.

After each of the last few games, the players have indicated afterward that Mike Anderson has been stressing defensive intensity following the two road losses, and it has been much better but they really shut down Milwaukee. The Panthers were held to just 28.8% shooting from the field. They came into the game shooting over 48% from inside the arc. They were nowhere near that against the Razorbacks. They also only shot 4-24 from three (16.7%) after shooting 31.9% coming into the game.

Ky Madden had a few ugly turnovers but still scored 15 points on 4-9 shooting and led the team with 6 assists and had a nice block on a Milwaukee fast break early in the second half.

This game doesn't really teach us much. It was a game Arkansas needed to win and did. The team's leaders didn't get quite as much help from the rest of the team as we've grown accustomed to seeing in Bud Walton, and they will need that against better teams, but it was fine against Milwaukee.

On to..Northwestern State on Sunday.