COLUMBIA, Mo. — Arkansas bounced back from its first loss of the season with a big road victory by knocking off Missouri on Tuesday, 62-52.
Arkansas, which lost to new-No. 1 Illinois at North Little Rock on Saturday, 72-60, is now 6-1. The Tigers are 4-4.
Counting three neutral-court wins in the Paradise Jam at the U.S. Virgin Islands, Arkansas has now won four times away from Bud Walton Arena. The last time UA won as many away from home was 2001 when the Razorbacks won at LSU, at South Carolina, at Alabama and against LSU in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Nashville.
The win is also Arkansas’ first over a member of the Big 12 since the 1998 season when the Hogs knocked off Nebraska, 74-65, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The win snaps a nine-game losing streak.
Both teams played tough defense in the first half with Arkansas managing a 27-25 lead at the half. The Razorbacks, after shooting 39 percent in the first period (11-28), shot 60 percent in the second half and got solid free-throw shooting to pull away late.
After holding Missouri to 31 percent shooting in the first half (9-29), UA’s defense got even better, limiting the Tigers to 28.6 percent in the second period (8-28) and 29.8 percent for the game. In fact, Missouri had more turnovers against the Razorbacks’ press (18) than shots made (17).
Arkansas had 19 turnovers with 12 of those coming in the second half, but Ronnie Brewer was four-of-five shooting from the field, and Brewer and Dontell Jefferson hit big free throws. Brewer was seven-of-13 from the field for the game and six-of-six at the line for a game-high 20 points. Jefferson was 0-of-four from the floor, but made six-of-eight free throws. Arkansas was five-of-eight at the line in the first half and 10-of-14 in the second.
Missouri was within 46-43 with 5:16 to play when Jefferson hit a free throw and Eric Ferguson made Arkansas’ only three-pointer of the game for a 50-44 lead with 3:37 remaining.
A Jason Horton free throw got the Tigers within 52-48, but Rashard Sullivan made a free throw and Olu Famutimi scored on a dunk for a seven-point lead at the 2:08 mark.
Linas Kleiza, who led Missouri with 14 points and 11 rebounds, scored to cut the margin to five. From there, it turned into a free throw shooting contest for the Razorbacks.
Brewer hit two with 1:37 left, Jefferson made a pair with 1:06 to go and two more with 55 seconds left to give Arkansas a 61-52 lead.
Famutimi had eight points and a team-high tying eight rebounds. Darian Townes, who was three-of-four shooting, had seven points and three rebounds. Ferguson had seven points and five assists. Sullivan had eight rebounds, three points and two blocked shots. Jefferson finished with six points, five rebounds and two assists; and Steven Hill, playing in his home state, had two points, two rebounds and four blocked shots.
Marshall Brown added 10 points for Missouri.
Arkansas is off until Dec. 16 when the Razorbacks play host to Tennessee State at 7:05 p.m. in a game televised by ARSN. The TSU game opens a seven-game home stand for Arkansas.