NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Sophomore Bobby Portis equaled a season-high with 24 points and was part of a trio of Razorbacks that enjoyed a homecoming on Saturday night, as Arkansas defeated Southeast Missouri State 84-67 in front of 11,375 fans at Verizon Arena.
Portis was in attack-mode from the opening tip, hitting a three-pointer on the opening possession and a jumper on the next. His dunk at the 14:50 mark in the first half gave the Razorbacks the lead for good as the Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Trophy watch list accounted for his third 20-point game of the non-conference and fell one rebound shy of a double-double.
With the win, Arkansas is now 8-2 through the first 10 games for the second straight year while Southeast Missouri is 5-6.
Portis’ 24 points were a major part of a combined 39 points from the trio of Little Rock area natives that includes senior Alandise Harris and freshman Anton Beard. The trio also added 16 rebounds while Harris and Beard each took two charges.
The other half of the fourth-best scoring tandem in the SEC, junior Michael Qualls scored all 15 of his points in the second half, highlighted by an electrifying dunk in which he was also fouled. Junior Anthon Bell celebrated his 21st birthday by scoring 11 of his 12 points in the first half to round out the double figure scorers.
Arkansas shot an even 50 percent (28-56) from the field, passing out 20 assists on its 28 made field goals. On the flipside, Southeast Missouri shot 41 percent (23-56), including 3-of-16 from three, while committing 17 turnovers that led directly to 24 points for the Razorbacks.
With the game tied 10-10 less than five minutes into the first half, Arkansas broke the game open with a 13-2 run that featured seven points from Little Rock area natives and four from sophomore Moses Kingsley, including a thunderous dunk that brought the Central Arkansas crowd to their feet.
Arkansas’ lead went in-and-out of double-digits until it hit a trio of three-pointers in the final 2:13 of the half, highlighted by two from Bell in the last 52 seconds. Second in the SEC in total threes, Bell’s final three of the opening half came with three seconds left for a 45-28 lead, equaling the largest halftime advantage of the season.
Bell and Portis each scored 11 points in the first half, while Portis’ fifth first half of the season in double figures was also complimented with eight rebounds.
Portis opened the second half with a jumper to push Arkansas’ lead to 19, 47-28, but the Redhawks responded with a 14-2 run over their own to cut their deficit to 49-42.
That would be as close as Southeast Missouri would get, as the Razorbacks put together an 8-0, 6-0 and 7-0 run over the final 13 minutes for the 84-67 win.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Playing in front of family and friends in his hometown, Portis put on a show with his fourth career 20-point game. The Little Rock native scored at least four straight points for the Razorbacks three different times and has scored 18+ points in four straight games for the first time in his career. Portis has led Arkansas in scoring each of the last two season at Verizon Arena, averaging 19.5 points.
#RazorStat Of The Game
Qualls scored all 15 of his points in the second half, including 13 over the final 8:12. The Shreveport, La. native ran his consecutive free throws made streak to 22 in the second half and had eight straight points during a 10-2 run that took less than three minutes.
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
• Arkansas has now won 23 straight home non-conference games, including three in North Little Rock.
• Arkansas has won three straight at Verizon Arena.
• Game marked the 14th straight year the Razorbacks have played at Verizon Arena.
• Arkansas is now 8-1 all-time against Southeast Missouri.
• Portis and Qualls each have an even 300 career rebounds.
• Portis has reached double figures in eight of 20 halves on the year.
• Portis equaled a season-high with 24 points.
• Portis has three 20-point games this season compared to one all of last year.
• Portis has scored at least 18 points in four straight games.
• Qualls scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
• Arkansas improved to 16-2 when Bell reaches double figures.
• Out-scored its opponent in bench points all 10 games this season and 28-15 tonight.
• Eighth time this year Arkansas has forced double figure turnovers in a half when the Redhawks had 10 in the first half.
• Won the turnover in eight of 10 games.
• Fifth time this season Arkansas has scored 20+ points (24) off turnovers.
• Fifth time this season with 20+ assists.
• Coach Anderson improved to 85-2 when his teams pass out 20+ assists.
Arkansas will host Milwaukee on Monday a Bud Walton Arena in a quick turnaround before it enjoys a few days off for Christmas. The meeting will be the first between the two programs and will tip at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.