FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Behind a combined 50 points from the trio of junior Michael Qualls, sophomore Bobby Portis and freshman Anton Beard, the No. 18/17 Arkansas men’s basketball team extended its win streak to five games with a 84-69 win over Missouri on Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Qualls led the way with a game-high 21 points while Portis chipped in with 16 points and nine rebounds, as the SEC’s top scoring duo surpassed a combined 30 points for the 17th time this season. Qualls’ 20-point night equals Portis’ team-best nine on the year.
The win is the eighth in the last nine games for the Razorbacks, as they improve to 21-5 overall while holding onto sole possession of second place in the SEC at 10-3. Missouri stands at 7-19 overall and 1-12 in the SEC.
Trailing 19-16 midway through the first half, Arkansas unleashed a 15-0 run that took 6:38 off the clock and resulted in a 31-19 advantage. Nine of Missouri’s 14 first half turnovers came during the run, while the Razorbacks took a 37-29 lead into the break.
It took just 20 seconds into the second half for Arkansas’ double-digit lead to return for good, as a 7-0 run over the first 74 seconds off the first half forced a Missouri timeout trailing 44-29. Qualls (12) and Portis (10) combined for 22 points in the second half while Beard had eight points and all five of his assists.
Entering the game ninth in the country in turnover margin, Arkansas forced the Tigers into 20 miscues that led to 18 points while committing just eight turnovers of their own. The Razorbacks pressure defense resulted in high-efficiency on the offensive end, passing out 20 assists on their 27 made field goals (27-58). Led by Qualls going 4-of-7 from three, Arkansas reached double figure three-pointers (10-22) in a game for the fifth time this year.
Beard was the final Razorback in double figures, building off his career-high 14-point night at Ole Miss last Saturday with 13 points and a team-high five assists. Making his sixth straight start, Beard has reached double figures in six SEC games after doing so just once in non-conference action.
Four players reached double figures for Missouri led by sophomore Johnathan Williams III’s double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
“Our guys were active tonight. The effort was there on both ends. We had 61 deflections tonight and that’s a critical part of us creating the tempo we want to play at but also taking our opponent out of what they want to do.”
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
In the second game of its three-game banner series, Arkansas honored 1994 Final Four MVP and two-time All-American Corliss Williamson at halftime. Williamson was honored by having a tribute banner with his No. 34 on it hung in the rafters next to fellow Arkansas native Sidney Moncrief’s No. 32. The final banner tribute will honor Naismith Hall Of Fame coach Nolan Richardson when Arkansas hosts Texas A&M on ESPN Super Tuesday on Feb. 24.
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
• Arkansas’ 10-3 SEC record is its best since 1997-98.
• Arkansas is 8-4 as a ranked team this season.
• Arkansas has won 27 straight games when leading at the half and improved to 17-0 when forcing 15+ turnovers.
• 13th time (12-1) this season Arkansas has scored 80+ points.
• Arkansas has passed out 20 assists nine times.
• Qualls and Portis scored 30+ points for the 17th time (14-3) this year.
• Qualls has scored 20 points eight times at Bud Walton Arena this season.
• Double figure game is the 50th of Qualls’ career.
• Second straight game Qualls has led the way in scoring.
• Portis has reached double figures in 21 consecutive contests.
• Beard has scored double-digit points in back-to-back games twice in SEC play.
• Beard’s five assists equal his season-high set at Auburn eight days ago.
Owning a 4-2 SEC road record, Arkansas leaves the friendly confines of Bud Walton Arena for its next conference showdown at Mississippi State on Saturday. Tip is slated for 3:30 p.m. CT on FSN.