FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sophomore Bobby Portis’ put-back as time expired in overtime broke the 15th tie of a back-and-forth SEC showdown at Bud Walton Arena and sent the Razorbacks to a thrilling 93-91 win over Alabama on Thursday night.
The lead changed hands five times in the first 2:40 of the extra frame before junior Michael Qualls scored seven of Arkansas’ next eight points for a 91-88 lead with 18 seconds left.
With four of its five starters out of the game with five fouls, Alabama tied the game at 91-91 with just over eight seconds on the clock when Shannon Hale froze the defense with a pump-fake before sinking a long three-pointer from the top of the key.
Out of its timeout, Arkansas got the ball into the hands of senior Rashad Madden – who scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half and overtime – but his shot fell short of the rim into the hands of Portis who beat the buzzer with an acrobatic tip-in for the 93-91 win.
Arkansas’ win begins a six-day stretch in which it will play six games, as the Razorbacks improved to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. Alabama (12-6, 2-3) marks the fourth win over an RPI Top 50 team this season for the Razorbacks.
Prior to Portis’ put-back, the night belonged to Qualls, who broke his career-high for the third time this season with 30 points on 10-of-16 from the field and 8-of-12 from the free throw line. Qualls was dominate in overtime, scoring seven points over the final 2:32 of the game, including two free throws with 18 seconds left that gave Arkansas a full one-possession lead, at 91-88. Qualls’ 38 turnover-free minutes also included eight rebounds and three steals.
On a night in which it shot just 41 percent (29-71), Arkansas was able to take 14 more field goal attempts and 13 more free throws than the Tide thanks to 21 offensive rebounds. The Razorbacks’ fourth game this season with 20+ offensive boards led to a 47-34 edge on the glass and a 22-8 advantage in second chance points. Portis entered the game with 20 offensive rebounds in his last three games and added five more while he was matched by classmate Moses Kingsley.
Alabama was led by freshman Justin Coleman’s 22 points and Ricky Tarrant’s 21. Coleman and Tarrant scored 39 of their 43 combined points in the second half, but were limited to just two points in overtime.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Just two days removed from his 21st birthday, Qualls celebrated by breaking his career-high for the third time this year with 30 points, including eight in overtime. Qualls scored 15 Arkansas’ 34 points in the first half, highlighted by a trio of dunks that are sure to land him on the #SCtop10 for the 10th time in his career. Out of Qualls’ team-leading eight 20-point games, seven have come in the friendly confines of Bud Walton Arena.
#RazorStat Of The Game
Portis’ tip-in at the buzzer not only gave Arkansas its 14th win of the season, but it also gave the Midseason Wooden Award finalist his fourth straight double-double. The game-winning bucket gave Portis 10 points and combined with his career-high 13 rebounds makes him the first player in program history to register four consecutive double-doubles in SEC regular season action.
Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
“Every season has its defining moments, and we’ll look back on that one and see a lot of grit. Alabama is a very talented and well-coach team, but tonight we made one more play. This was a total team win. They (Alabama) came back in regulation and then again in overtime, but our guys didn’t hang their heads. Gritty and tough effort by our guys.”
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
• Qualls (20.8) and Portis (20.6) are both averaging over 20 points in SEC action.
• Portis and Qualls are the only two players in the SEC to score 30 points in a game this season.
• Either Portis or Qualls has led Arkansas in scoring 16 of 18 games.
• Qualls has 10 20-point games over his last 27 contests after just one over his first 55 career games.
• Arkansas is 13-2 the last two seasons when Qualls has 2+ dunks in a game.
• Qualls has reached double figures in a career-best nine straight games.
• Portis is the first player in program history with four straight double-doubles in SEC action.
• Portis’ team-leading six double-doubles have all come over the last eight games.
• Portis has reached double figures in a career-best 13 consecutive contests.
• Portis has at least five offensive rebounds in each of the last four games.
• Madden has reached double figures each of the last two games, averaging 19.5 points.
• Madden is 18 of his last 31 from three-point land.
• Madden moved past Kareem Reid for fourth place in career free throws made (159) in SEC action.
• Arkansas has won 22 straight games when leading at the half.
• The Razorbacks are now 12-0 this season when forcing 15+ turnovers.
Arkansas will take the floor again in less than 40 hours when it makes the quick turnaround trip to Missouri for a Saturday showdown on ESPN2. Tip is set for 1 p.m. CT.