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Arkansas Razorbacks 61, Missouri Tigers 60: It Worked Out

15-4, 4-2

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Anderson took a little heat last Saturday for saying Ole Miss came into Bud Walton and "stole one" against the Hogs after the Rebels blitzed the Razorbacks, but this game felt much more like a steal.

Arkansas led the game for 26 minutes, but there was never a sense that the Razorbacks were really in control. The Hogs played one of their worst games of the season and Missouri had a chance to win or send the game to overtime when Wes Clark (72% free throw shooter coming into the game) went to the free throw line with three seconds left, but he missed both and Arkansas came away with the win.

It was a team effort, which was needed because the team's stars weren't able to carry the team as well as you'd hope. Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls were a combined 9-31 from the field. Qualls in particular was 3-15 for eight points to go along with four rebounds. Perhaps he was a bit drained from tipping off just 43 hours after the Alabama game when he scored 30 points and had 8 rebounds in the overtime thriller.

The Hogs got the help they needed. Alandise Harris had his best game since Georgia, scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting and had five rebounds. Ky Madden had seven points, nine rebounds, three assists, and zero turnovers. Anthlon Bell scored eight points and Anton Beard scored seven. Jabril Durham banked in a three from the wing in the first half and, as in any 1-point game, those points proved to be vital.

Arkansas' defense was better. They held Missouri to below their season average on two-point shots (40%, came in shooting 44.7%), but their three-point percentage was a little better (38.9%, came in with 34.6%) but not nearly the drastic increase the Hogs allowed Ole Miss and Alabama. The officials called a really loose game until the last 10 minutes or so. There were only five combined free throws attempted for the entire game well into the second half, eliminating a free throw shooting advantage Arkansas has typically been able to enjoy, but the Hogs still ended up shooting just 61.1% from the line, well below their season average.

It worked out. There was red meat for Mike Anderson's critics - especially in the last minute. With time to design whatever play Arkansas wanted with under a minute to go and a one-point lead, the Hogs went with an Alandise Harris drive from the wing, which was blocked, and followed by Qualls shooting a long two-pointer at the end of the shot clock. But it worked out. Then you could argue Anderson didn't put his best defensive lineup at the end when Missouri could have won - Moses Kingsley and Manuale Watkins were both on the bench. But it worked out.

Missouri is arguably the worst team in the SEC (I'd argue Mississippi State but it's debatable) and this loss would have been significantly worse than losing at Tennessee or at home to Ole Miss. But it didn't happen. Arkansas overcame what could be their worst shooting day of the season (only 36% from inside the arc) and forcing only eight turnovers despite the officials calling so few fouls, but the Hogs won. The Tigers just weren't well-enough equipped to take advantage of the Hogs' subpar day.

It's all coming to balance. Arkansas lost the game at Missouri last year by one point and this year wins in Columbia by one point. Arkansas had a chance to send the Tennessee game to overtime with free throws a couple of weeks ago and missed them, and today wins when Missouri did the same thing. Now the Razorbacks get their chance for revenge against the Vols when the two go at it again at Bud Walton on Tuesday.