Razorback Basketball Relies on Defense; Bielema Plays Santa


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Highlighted by a combined 50 points from the trio of Bobby Portis, Michael Qualls and Rashad Madden, the Arkansas men’s Razorback basketball team picked up its third straight win heading into Christmas with a convincing 84-54 victory over Milwaukee on Monday night at Bud Walton Arena.

Less than 36 hours removed from a win on Saturday night in North Little Rock, the Razorbacks (9-2) overcame an uncharacteristic first half in which they scored 35 points by shooting 50 percent (17-34) in the second half to out-score the Panthers, 49-30.

Out of the 49 second half points, the trio of Portis, Qualls and Madden accounted for 29, highlighted by all 14 points during a 14-0 run late in the game that ballooned the lead to 31 points (80-49). Madden had 10 of his 15 points during the run.

During halftime of the game the Arkansas Razorback football team was honored and head football coach Bret Bielema surprised children from the Boys and Girls Clubs with new bicycles for Christmas.

Portis finished with game-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds, good for his first double-double of the season. Portis’ six offensive rebounds were part of 49-29 advantage on the boards for the Razorbacks, as they out-scored Milwaukee 15-2 in second chance points. Coming off a season-high 24 points last time out in his hometown, Portis has now scored 18+ points in five straight games which is one more time than all of last year.

Qualls was the third Razorback basketball player in double figures with 17 points, picking up right where he left off in the second half Saturday when he scored 15 points in 13 minutes. The duo of Portis and Qualls has scored 30+ points seven times on the year while one of the two has led Arkansas in scoring in 10 of 11 contests.

Arkansas trailed for 1:59 in the game when it fell behind 2-0 and didn’t impact the scoreboard until the 17:31 mark. Just as they have the previous three games, the Razorbacks relied on their defense most of the night, holding Milwaukee to just 29 percent (15-52) from the floor with 19 turnovers. The Panthers 19 turnovers were four more than their 15 made field goals.

Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Entering the game 12th in the nation in scoring offense (83.5), Arkansas cranked up its pressure on the defensive end for the fourth straight game, limiting Milwaukee to just one field goal over the final 7:15 of the game and that came with just five seconds remaining.

Stat Of The Game
With his first double-double (18 points & 10 rebounds) of the season, Portis has now led Arkansas in scoring four of the last five games and six straight contests. Portis has scored 18+ points in five straight games compared to four times all of last year.

Quick Hits 
• Arkansas has now won 50 straight non-conference home games against unranked opponents.
• The Razorbacks have won 24 straight non-conference home games, including 21 at Bud Walton Arena.
• Marked the 27th time in the last 29 non-conference games Arkansas has scored 70+ points.
• Arkansas improved to 8-0 when scoring 80+ points this season.
• Arkansas has won the battle on the boards in six of the last seven games.
• Portis has reached double figures 10 times and 14 of the last 15 dating back to last year.
• Portis has led the way on the glass eight times and scoring on six occasions.
• The double-double is the sixth of Portis’ career.
• Portis has scored double figures in five of the last seven halves.
• Qualls has reached double figures nine times, including six of seven games at Bud Walton Arena.
• Qualls has 24 points in his last 25 minutes played in the second half.
• Madden improved to 23-of-24 from the free throw line in the last five minutes.
• Madden has reached double figures seven times.
• Madden led the way in assists (6) for the ninth time in the last 10 games.

#Fastest40 Facts 
• Held the last four opponents to less than 70 points and 30 points in the first half.
• Led by five steals from Anton Beard, Arkansas finished with double-digit thefts for the fourth time.
• Just two teams have had a positive assist/turnover ratio.
• Owned a 25-11 edge in points off turnovers and a 38-16 advantage in points in the paint.
• Forced opponents into double figure turnovers in nine halves on the year.

Up Next
Arkansas will have five days off from game action before it returns from the Christmas break to host Northwestern State on Sunday, Dec. 28. Tip is slated for 2:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Bielema hands out bikes during halftime of Razorback basketball


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