The Hogs got a defensive stop on the final possession of the game to hang on for a 65-63 win over Missouri. How they got to that point was filled with all kinds of drama. The Hogs led by as much as 18 in the first half, trailed by six in the second half, and finished the game on a 12-4 run to win it.
The decisive play was a dunk by Daniel Gafford to take the lead with under a minute to go. He led the way with 15 points and was one of four Hogs to get into double figures. One of those four was not Daryl Macon, who notably came off the bench in this one. He finished with eight but the big story was Darious Hall starting in his place and getting 10 points. Mike Anderson opted to go with Hall to bring some defensive intensity right off the bat and presumably bring some offense to a struggling bench unit. The move looked to pay off in the first half but things got dicey in the second stanza.
Arkansas jumped all over the Tigers early with their defensive intensity and it led to easy baskets. Hall had an 8-0 run entirely by himself that was all layups or dunks. Another 10-0 run stretched things out to a 28-10 lead and Arkansas looked like they could run away with things. A late flurry of threes by Mizzou kept things within reach however.
That run proved to be a big deal when Arkansas went cold in the second half. Arkansas had a stretch of shooting 3/17 that lasted most of the second half. At the tail end of that a 21-4 run by Missouri gave them a six point lead with just 4:43 to go.
Arkansas won because Mizzou wouldn’t hit another field goal in the game. Arkansas was able to hold them to just free throws, forcing two turnovers that led to the Hogs tying the game and eventually getting the game winning dunk. The Hogs forced a contested three at the end and won a game that really felt like a sigh of relief after both the three game losing streak, and the blown lead.
So what to take away from this one? That’s a tough question because the team deserves a lot of criticism for blowing what was an 18 point lead at one point, but also credit is due for not folding and making enough plays to get the win. It’s not really satisfying, but it’s a win, and much better than the alternative.