What a huge performance from the Razorbacks.
On a day when there was plenty of snark about Mike Anderson's extension, followed by despair during the first half when at times it felt like we were about to repeat the abominable SEC road openers from the last two seasons even though the Hogs only trailed by 7 at halftime, the Hogs pulled through in the 2nd half for the comeback victory on the road against a team many believe could end up in the NCAA Tournament.
The Razorbacks did it unconventionally. They were significantly outrebounded 40-25. They hardly shot any free throws, only putting up 13 for the whole game, which included a few late attempts just because Georgia was trying to stop the clock. They allowed Georgia to hit 45% of their threes when they're not even a good three point shooting team. Georgia had five players in double figures compared to just three for Arkansas. They didn't have any fast break points until a late Michael Qualls breakaway.
Arkansas just hit shots. The Hogs were 57.7% from the field in the 2nd half. They started slow, which is when Georgia built their lead, which was as big as 13 with four minutes to go before halftime, but didn't panic and continued hitting shots. Jabril Durham hit a three followed up with a layup from Moses Kingsley for a quick 5-0 run. Manuale Watkins, Alandise Harris, and Anthlon Bell hit three straight a few minutes later for a 6-0 run. Then the Razorbacks finally took control of the game on a 7-0 run off a pair of classic Alandise Harris dropkick jumpers and a shot from Qualls.
This needs to be addressed. Harris was amazing. Not a single one of his shots was a good shot - generally. I call them dropkick jumpers because he nearly falls horizontal when he fades back to shoot. One shot in the first half even hit the backboard on its way through the hoop. He didn't get to the free throw line one time. All that being said, he was 7-8 from the field, including a heat check three during that 7-0 run in the second half. It was incredible. It made no sense, but also made all the sense because Alandise.
Bobby Portis is main reason the game was competitive at halftime. He scored 15 in the first half on jump shots, skyhooks, and a dunk after getting his defender up in the air 10 feet away from the basket. He finished with 21 points and five rebounds.
Qualls also had 17 points and led the team with 7 rebounds. It wasn't his best night as he was just 5-13 from the field, but he hit some big shots down the stretch, including the free throws that iced the game.
Just about everybody on the team pitched in down the stretch. The Hogs finally tied the game on a big three from Anton Beard. All five of Bell's points came in the 2nd half. On the whole, Arkansas' bench scored 34 points, compared to just 19 for Georgia. It was a whole team effort.
All it means is that Arkansas is 1-0 in the SEC for the first time since hosting Mississippi State at Bud Walton back in 2012. They aren't starting out in a hole like they've been accustomed to. They've now won two quality road games against SMU and Georgia, and they haven't even started playing the bad SEC teams yet. There's still plenty of work to do to get where they want to go, but they're unquestionably in great position to have a great season.