FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -Charles Thomas scored 21 points and defended two last-second 3-pointers by Missouri, helping Arkansas hold off the Tigers 94-91 Wednesday night.
The Razorbacks spoiled former Arkansas assistant Mike Anderson’s return to Bud Walton Arena. Anderson was on the Arkansas staff for 17 seasons under Nolan Richardson. He’s now Missouri’s coach.
Sonny Weems made two free throws with 15 seconds left to give Arkansas a three-point lead. With the 6-foot-8 Thomas defending, Missouri’s Stefhon Hannah tried an off-balance 3-pointer that missed, but a jump ball was called on the rebound and the possession arrow favored the Tigers.
After Arkansas (5-1) called time out to set up its defense, Darryl Butterfield took an inbound pass in the left corner. He leaned into Thomas, apparently trying to draw a foul. There was no call and his toss went nowhere near the basket.
Hannah led Missouri (5-2) with 28 points. The game included 21 lead changes and 12 ties.
Richardson was fired by Arkansas in 2002, and although Anderson interviewed for the job, Arkansas hired Stan Heath instead. Anderson became the coach at Alabama-Birmingham in 2002-03 and took over Missouri last season. One of his first big wins with the Tigers was an 86-64 home victory over Arkansas.
Anderson was coaching for the first time in the Razorbacks’ home arena since he was briefly Arkansas’ interim coach after Richardson’s firing. He received a lengthy, warm ovation from the Arkansas fans when he was introduced before the game and showed his appreciation with a wave. This was the Razorbacks’ first big home game under new coach John Pelphrey, and the crowd – which included golfer and Arkansas native John Daly – was ready from the start.
The game was played at a tempo that Richardson might have appreciated. Arkansas led 51-50 after an entertaining first half in which the Razorbacks shot 59 percent. Missouri went on a 15-3 run to take a 21-13 lead, but Arkansas answered with an 18-5 run that included two breakaway layups by Patrick Beverley and two breakaway dunks by Gary Ervin.
Hannah scored 19 points in the first half.
The Razorbacks started well in the second half, taking a 75-68 lead on Beverley’s fast-break basket. That prompted a Missouri timeout with 10:09 remaining.
The Tigers rallied and finally took an 88-87 lead on Keon Lawrence’s 3-point play with 2:22 remaining. Beverley answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner to put Arkansas up by two.
DeMarre Carroll made one of two free throws to cut the lead in half, and Thomas traveled, giving the ball to Missouri with 1:16 to play. After a wild scramble under the basket, Lawrence missed from the left wing. Thomas rebounded and made two free throws.
Butterfield scored with 17.9 seconds left, but Weems’ free throws pushed the lead back to three.
Thomas led Arkansas with eight rebounds. Beverley finished with 19 points for the Razorbacks, who shot 58 percent from the field.
Arkansas turned the ball over 23 times and Missouri 21 times.