FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Fueled by a career-high 28 points from junior Michael Qualls and sophomore Bobby Portis’ second straight double-double, Arkansas held off Northwestern State for a 100-92 win on Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
The second-leading scoring duo in the SEC, Qualls and Portis combined for 50 points, including 35 in the second half, to out-duel Northwestern State’s combo of Jalan West and Zeek Woodely who combined for 46 points. Arkansas’ fourth straight win moves it to 10-2 while the Demons are now 4-6.
Qualls scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, hitting 9-of-16 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Playing against a team from his home state of Louisiana, Qualls also added seven rebounds and four assists in 31 turnover-free minutes. Portis also did a majority of his scoring in the second half with 14 of his 22 while his game-high 12 rebounds included six on the offensive end.
Arkansas led for 35:19 in the game, but had its lead, which grew to as large as 14, cut down to four several times in the second half. Holding a 94-89 with 1:30 to play, junior Jacorey Williams found Qualls for a dunk and then a steal on the ensuing possession resulted in an alley-oop to Williams on senior Rashad Madden’s game-high eighth assist to put the game out of reach at 98-89.
Entering the game as the only player in the nation averaging five assists in less than 25 minutes per game, Madden was the catalyst to Arkansas’ 23-assist night on 38-of-76 shooting (50 percent) from the field. Madden combined his career-high eight assists with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three-point land. Williams was the fourth Razorback in double figures with 12, hauling down a career-high seven rebounds.
Behind Portis, Qualls and Williams, the Razorbacks enjoyed a 45-32 edge on the glass, highlighted by a season-best 22 offensive caroms. The 22 offensive boards led to 23 second chance points to help make up for just seven points on Northwestern State’s seven turnovers.
The top assist-man in the country, West was the major reason for Northwestern State’s efficiency on the offensive end, as the elusive point guard had 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds in a full 40 minutes of work with just one turnover. Woodley’s 21 points came on 19 field goal attempts, as the Razorbacks made the nation’s second-leading scorer work for his eighth straight 20-point game.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
After seven points in the first half, Qualls scored seven straight points for the Razorbacks over a 1:57 span in the first five minutes of the second. The 20-point game is Qualls’ team-leading fifth 20-point game, while he now has 46 points over 43 minutes in the second the last three games.
#RazorStat Of The Game
Coming off his first double-double of the season, Portis picked up his second straight for the second time in his young career. Portis’ 22 points marked his fourth 20-point game of the season compared to just one last year while he is the first player since Corliss Williamson in 1994 to have six straight games of 18+ points and 7+ rebounds.
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
• Arkansas has now won 51 straight non-conference home games against unranked opponents.
• The Razorbacks have won 25 straight non-conference home games, including 21 at Bud Walton Arena.
• Marked the 28th time in the last 30 non-conference games Arkansas has scored 70+ points.
• Arkansas has scored 100 points six times under coach Anderson.
• The Razorbacks have scored 100 points 39 times at Bud Walton Arena while no opponent has accomplished the feat.
• Arkansas improved to 9-0 when scoring 80+ points this season.
• Arkansas has won the battle on the boards seven of the last eight games.
• The 22 offensive rebounds marked a season-high and the third game with 20+.
• Portis and Qualls have combined for 30+ points eight times (7-1) on the year.
• Either Portis or Qualls has led Arkansas in scoring 11 of the 12 games.
• Portis has led Arkansas in rebounding six straight games.
Arkansas will now have another five days off before it concludes non-conference play with a home game against Utah valley on Saturday, Jan. 3. Tip is slated for 2 p.m. on the SEC Network.