It took a last minute effort for the Arkansas Razorbacks to top Missouri.
Sophomore BJ Young finished with 7 points in the last 29 seconds, and Missouri’s Jabari Brown missed a last second three that sealed the victory for the Hogs. Former Missouri and now Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson sits at 1-0 against his former team.
This one didn’t come easy for the Hogs, and was hard fought to the very end. After two Kieon Bell free throws put the Tigers up 70-66 with 34 seconds left, things looked bleak for Arkansas. But instead of trying jumpers to attempt a comeback, Young drove to the basket two possessions in a row and earned two three point plays that put the Hogs up 72-71. Young finished with 18 points and five rebounds after the spectacular last minute effort.
“My teammates kept encouraging me, telling me it wasn’t over. I just tried to close out the game,” Young said.
Though Young delivered in the waning seconds, The Hogs’ go-to player against Missouri was once again Marshawn Powell. Powell finished with 24 points, 15 of those coming in the second half. He scored 11 points in the first five minutes of the second half, giving the Hogs their first lead of the game with less than 16 minutes remaining. Arkansas was able to maintain that lead until about 3 minutes remaining after Missouri was able to get to the basket and make free throws.
With officiating being a hot button topic after a Phil Pressey turnover with 11 seconds left that the Tigers believed was a foul, Missouri head coach Frank Haith didn’t feel like sharing his displeasure with the calls that were made.
“Don’t anyone ask me about the officiating, I am not getting in trouble today,” Haith said in the post-game press conference.
Missouri’s Bell continued to play well for the Tigers, finishing with 25 points and eight rebounds. A senior transfer from Pepperdine, Bell has led the Tigers in scoring over the past month, and finished with his third 20-plus point effort in the last four games.
The two remaining players from the Anderson era at Missouri, Lawrence Bowers and Phil Pressey, struggled against their former coach. Pressey had nine points on 2-9 shooting with four turnovers. Bowers finished 1-10 from the field and only two points, and has still yet to show he’s at full strength after returning from an injury Jan. 30. Haith declined to comment on the two’s performances.
However, Anderson felt proud of his former players, two players he has felt like a fatherly figure to.
“They’re winners, and they’re gonna be winners in life,” Anderson said.
Back on the Arkansas side, Coty Clarke got his sixth consecutive start of the season, and performed well against a much bigger Missouri front court. Clarke finished with 13 points and seven boards, and complemented Powell nicely. Despite being the lesser known of the two front courts, Arkansas’ starting big men outscored Missouri’s Bowers and Alex Oriakhi 37-9. Oriakhi, a key component of Uconn’s 2010 National Championship team that transferred to Missouri, helped the Tigers out-rebound Arkansas 47-31 but couldn’t find his groove offensively
“We are still a work in progress, and it’s good to see this team have some success,” Anderson said.
The Hogs (16-9, 7-5 SEC) host Georgia Thursday in Bud Walton Arena, and look to continue their modest winning streak.