Missouri defeats Arkansas: With just more than five minutes to go, the Tigers were down by ten points, but they went on a 22-9 run to win.
In an attrition-filled contest at Mizzou Arena, Missouri prevailed against Arkansas 79-76. In a contest that lasted almost three hours in total, the two teams combined for 56 fouls and attempted 66 free throws.
Four other Tigers scored seven points or more, but Kobe Brown led the way with 17 points and six rebounds. Other players had to stand up in the absence of Noah Carter and Mabor Majak (due to health and safety protocols). Isaiah Mosley, Aiden Shaw, and Mohamed Diarra stepped up to fill the void, combining for 20 points.
With 5:07 left in the game, the Tigers trailed 67-57. The host squad looked out of this game after being hampered by foul trouble and poor perimeter shooting.
They then made one last dash. The Tigers got back into the game thanks to Sean East II, D’Moi Hodge, and some tough offensive rebounds from Kobe Brown. They trimmed the lead to seven, then five, then three, and a DeAndre Gholston three-pointer with 2:28 remaining tied the game.
The tension only grew from there as the two squads went back and forth. Arkansas made plenty of free throws, but DeAndre Gholston nailed a crucial fadeaway jumper with 43.7 seconds left to keep the score level at 71.
The rest of the game was decided at the foul line. The Tigers had just enough defensive stops to seize the lead, and then sealed the game from the foul line, going 8-for-8 in the final minutes. Missouri finished with a 22-9 scoring run.
“The way you respond is the most important thing in college basketball right now,” Gholston said. “It’s all about how you respond to officials, runs, and supporters.”
Missouri did not play well in a game that they desperately needed to win. Because of Arkansas’ ball pressure, the Tigers started the game 0-for-7 from the field and struggled to even get into their set plays.
However, the Razorbacks were able to break through the paint and grab some good looks. With 16:35 remaining in the first half, they led 7-0, prompting Dennis Gates to call a timeout.
Mizzou battled back to tie the game at 12-12 at the 8:29 mark, led by the pair of Mosley and Diarra. Diarra made his first three-pointer of the season and was more aggressive on the court than he had been all season, sparking the comeback.
In the middle of the half, the Razorbacks went on a four-minute scoring drought, which was mostly brought on by mistakes. They were forced to score 14 points in the first half, mostly by Mizzou.
The Tigers as a whole scored nine points in the opening 20 minutes, and Brown had a few steals that resulted in baskets in transition. These live-ball turnovers gave Mizzou the opportunity to run the court, which is what they do best.
Thanks to a Shaw three-pointer, the Tigers tied the score at 15 with just eight seconds remaining in the intermission. Then, these two teams engaged in combat. By the eighth minute, both teams were in the double bonus after ten players committed two fouls in the first half. The referees had to work because of how physically and aggressively the game was played.
The last minutes of the half saw back-and-forth scoring as the tide of momentum swung back and forth. Eight late points from Davonte Davis propelled the Hogs, including a three-pointer with five seconds remaining that gave them the lead going into intermission.
In the first half, the two teams were mirror reflections of one another. Arkansas made good shots, shooting 59 percent from the field, but they were unable to keep the ball in their possession. Despite having a low turnover rate (just five), Missouri shot a dismal 37 percent from the field and only 21 percent from three-point range.
Mizzou continued where they left off in the first half of the game. On two occasions, Hodge successfully picked the pockets of Arkansas’ guards, allowing the Tigers to escape and take off. Davis also had a rough first half, missing his first three 3-point tries.
Because of these elements, Missouri was able to take a 43-37 lead at the 16:39 mark, which was their biggest advantage so far.
With 12:21 remaining in the half, Arkansas went on a 12-4 run as a result of greater offensive ball movement, forcing Gates to call a timeout. Thanks to some efficient free throw shooting, the Razorbacks were able to keep that momentum going for the following few minutes. After entering the bonus early in the second half, the Hogs took advantage of the game’s frequent fouls by shooting 23 of 26 free throws.
Although fouls and free throws would dominate the headlines of this game, Mizzou was still plagued by two issues. They struggled from outside the arc for the third game in a row, shooting just 25 percent. A much bigger Arkansas team outrebounded them 42-23 as well.
However, they have significantly improved over the past two years in their capacity to overcome all of that. On Saturday at 5:00 p.m. CST, the Tigers will have another opportunity to face a ranked opponent when they host No. 4 Alabama (16-4, 6-0).
You can watch the game on SEC Network.
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