‘Poetry in Motion’ As Razorbacks Destroy Auburn on the Road


AUBURN, Ala. – Five players in double figures, including 22 points by SEC leading scorer Bobby Portis, and a 54 percent night from the field added up to 101-87 win for the No. 24/23 Arkansas Razorbacks at Auburn Tuesday night at Auburn Arena.

The win is the sixth in the last seven games for the Razorbacks, who improve to 19-5 overall and own sole possession of second place in the SEC standings by a half-game at 8-3. The 100-point game is the first by an SEC team in league play this year and the sixth in head coach Mike Anderson’s four seasons.

Leading the five players in double figures was Portis and junior Michael Qualls, who regained their status as the SEC’s top scoring duo thanks to scoring a combined 40+ points for the fifth time this season. Celebrating his 20th birthday, Portis did a majority of his damage in the second half with 14 of his 22 points while also adding a game-high eight rebounds. Qualls fell just short of joining Portis with his ninth 20-point game of the season, going for 16 of his 19 in the first half.

Arkansas’ 100-point night was fueled by good ball movement to the tune of 23 assists on its 35 made field goals. Senior Rashad Madden was the point-man a majority of the game, equaling a career-high with eight assists and no turnovers while passing Arkansas legend Todd Day for seventh all-time in career assists. Madden added 12 points in his 26 minutes, moving four points shy of becoming the 36th player in program history with 1,000 points.

In a game that featured 53 fouls and 65 free throws, Arkansas trailed for just 40 seconds in the wild 40-minute affair with its lead reaching as large as 21 on a pair of occasions. The last 21-point lead came with 4:35 remaining, as Portis capped his birthday bash with a layup to make it 95-74.

Neither Bruce Pearl nor Arkansas coach Mike Anderson had a problem with the start-and-stop game.

“The officials had to take control of the game, and I think they did a good job,” Pearl said.

“I thought,” Anderson said, “it was a very physical basketball game… It was two teams competing against each other.”

Auburn shot a whopping 40 free throws. Arkansas shot 25.

“It was fouls both ways,” said Auburn guard K.C. Ross-Miller. “We scored 80-something points on them. That should be good enough to win.”

The win is Arkansas’ eighth straight over Auburn, including all four at Auburn Arena, and its sixth SEC road win in its last 10 opportunities. The Tigers are now 11-13 and 3-8 in the SEC. The SEC‘s second-leading scorer KT Harrell and KC Ross-Miller led the Tigers with 21 points each.

Arkansas’ 11 three-pointers equaled a season-high and is one more than its total threes over the previous three games combined. Junior Anthlon Bell reached double figures for the second straight game with 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from long range. Madden and Qualls each contributed a trio of three-pointers, as the Razorbacks made double figure trifectas for the first time in 17 games.

Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
“Our offense was poetry in motion tonight. The ball was moving, guys were cutting and we found the open man. We were due for a breakout shooting night and we’re due for a lot more if we move the ball like we did in this game.”

Opening Statement from Anderson

“It was a very physical basketball game. An up and down game. A lot of free throws were shot. I thought we played efficient basketball. Our guys were starting off and really got things going from a defensive standpoint and the group off the bench really added to it. It was a game with two teams really competing against one another and we took advantage of our size. We had some size advantages and our guys did a good job of recognizing that. Although we had some lapses on defense, they scored 47 points in the first half. I have to give Bruce Pearl and his kids credit because they attacked us. When you are playing against a pressing team you have to attack them and I thought they did a good job of that. But I was happy with our guy’s performance. We found a way to win and that is what you want to do on the road, especially this time of the year.”

On the ball movement…

“I thought we shared the basketball. It was a poetry of motion. Ball movement and people movement. Bobby Portis is such an advantage for us because he can go inside and he can go outside. What that does is open up the lane and we have some guys that did a great job of making hard cuts to the basket and finishing. We made shots. When you make shots that obviously brings the defense out even more. Now the cutting of our guys was major in this game. But we did share the basketball and I thought Auburn wore out and got a little tired.”

On the fouls…

“I thought even in the first half that was a big time to lay there. One of the things the officials wants to do is make sure they get it right. This game was chippy. Sometimes that is basketball. I thought the officials did a good job of really controlling it. The kids want to win. All of them want to win this time of year. Their guys want to win, our guys want to win. We just have to learn how to play with composure. Especially on the road because you are going to get that. Bobby Portis is going to be a guy that people are going to challenge. They are going to challenge a guy like Michael Qualls. We have to be able to make good decisions in those cases.”

On Michael Qualls…

“He did other things other than shoot. The shooting came because he started doing other things on defense, rebounding and trying to block shots. I thought he did not settle. He got to the free throw and now he was in the flow. He is probably feeling a little bit better from that knee injury. He is not even 100 percent. That is why we have got a team. I thought it was a total team win. The guys played real well. I was proud of Jacorey Williams coming back home to his home state and to have the impact that he had on this game. I thought that was really big. Bobby Portis, what can you say, the challenges keep coming and he keeps answering the call. That is the mark of a guy who does not want to be a good player, but a great player. He puts in the time. Today was his birthday so I am sure he will relish this win here. Anthlon Bell, a guy who has not been shooting the ball real well, it was big to see him come out and knock some shots down for us. I thought our seniors did a good job of carrying the leadership for us. Alandise Harris was playing really big defensively, getting after it, and Rashad Madden making some big plays for us, eight assists.”

Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl

On defense…
“Arkansas did a great job of sharing the ball. They play really well together. This is as well as they have shot the ball in a while, particularly on the road. They are good from two and three, but tonight they were terrific from three. Michael Qualls got off to a great start. We didn’t contest and we didn’t defend. I think it shows that it was the third game of a Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday schedule in the sense that we weren’t as aggressive, and not very effective defensively. Arkansas was terrific. I liked the tempo of the game, and I liked going up and down with them. They obviously scored and were comfortable offensively. We just couldn’t stop them.”

On Arkansas’ offensive execution…

“I give Arkansas credit. They made shots and they shared the ball and played unselfishly. They had scoring from a lot of different player. They went inside early. When they kicked it out they made shots. I give Arkansas a lot of credit for what they did. But at the same time I am not happy with our team. I am not happy with the way we defended and the way we competed on the defensive end. It’s a double‐ edged sword.”

On chippy fouls…

“I am not a big fan, but at the same time I am not going to get pushed around. The game was chippy so the officials had to take control of the game and I thought they did a good job.”

On getting into a rhythm…

“If the players want to play like that and talk, then the officials have no choice. They have to take control.”

On Arkansas scoring 100 points…

“We scored 87 points.”

On Tahj’s (Shamsid‐Deen) injury…

It is his shoulder. His shoulder popped out and stayed out so it is probably a little bit more serious than his other injuries. It is unfortunate because he got off to a great start. His quickness and defensive ability in a game like this would have helped us.”

On Cinmeon Bowers…

“He was excited about playing Bobby Portis. I don’t think we do a very good job of getting him the ball. I think he is open a lot and we don’t get it to him. I think he could do a better job of finishing. He had some shots inside that he didn’t finish, but he is a real key competitor for us. I thought T.J. Lang gave us some nice minutes. I thought K.C. Ross‐Miller did a great job with Tahj going out. We have been trying to

get those guys coming off the bench to stay right and stay ready and focused. The fact that K.C. played so well off the bench, Malcolm (Canada) played well off the bench, and T.J. played well off the bench.”

K.C. Ross‐Miller, Sr., G.

On the size disadvantage and competing against it…

“I think we have enough talent to play with them. I don’t think we competed enough defensively. We did a good job offensively but we didn’t compete enough defensively.”

On how tough it is to get into a flow with all the whistles blowing…

“I think we did a good job. There were fouls both ways and we scored 80 something points so that should be enough to win.”

On the breakdown defensively…

“We weren’t executing properly and just competing on the ball. Not enough pressure on the ball and helping each other.”

Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Senior Rashad Madden surpassed Arkansas legend Todd Day for seventh all-time on the career assist list with 323. Madden equaled his career-high of eight assists for the third time this season, while closing to within four points of 1,000 points for his career. With four more points, Madden will become the first Arkansas native to score 1,000 points and pass out 300 assists as a Razorback.

Quick Hits
• Arkansas has won six of its last 10 SEC road games.
• Arkansas is the only SEC team to score 100 points in league play this season.
• Marked the 10th game (6-4) this season Arkansas has played as a ranked team.
• Arkansas’ last three opponents have 61 turnovers and 54 made field goals.
• 25th straight game Arkansas has won when leading at the half.
• Arkansas improved to 16-0 when forcing 15+ turnovers this season.
• Arkansas is 3-0 this season when playing on a player’s birthday.
• Arkansas 58 first half points are its most in a half this season.
• Fifth time (5-0) this season that Portis and Qualls have combined for 40+ points.
• Portis has a team-best nine 20-point games after one all of 2013-14.
• Portis has scored double-digit points in 19 consecutive contests.
• Portis has led Arkansas in rebounding 17 of the last 18 games and 20 times on the year.
• Portis has led Arkansas in scoring and rebounding five straight games.
• Qualls has reached double figures in 19 games.
• Madden has 12 assists and one turnover the last two games.
• Madden has led Arkansas in assists 20 of 24 games.
• Arkansas is now 18-3 all-time when Anthlon Bell reaches double figures.
• Bell has 28 points over 34 minutes played the last two games, hitting 8-of-15 from three.
• Bell has shot 50 percent or better from three in seven games after five last year.
• First time since late November that Bell has reached double figures in back-to-back games.
• Arkansas improved to 6-1 since Harris returned to the starting lineup.
• Harris finished in double figures for the 20th time as a Razorback.
• Freshman Anton Beard started his fourth straight game (3-1) and set a season-high with five assists.

Up Next
Arkansas will hit the road for the second time this week when it travels to Oxford, Miss. to take on Ole Miss at an already-announced sold out Tad Smith Coliseum on Saturday night. Tip is slated for 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

Razorbacks Destroy Auburn


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