Hot-shooting Mississippi downs No. 19 Arkansas 96-82
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Even a return to Bud Walton Arena wasn’t enough for Arkansas to overcome the hot shooting of Ole Miss.
Despite having three players finish with at least 22 points, the No. 19 Razorbacks fell behind by 15 points in the first half and lost 96-82 to the Rebels on Saturday night.
Bobby Portis had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arkansas (13-4, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), while Michael Qualls and Ky Madden had 22 each. However, the Razorbacks 16-game home winning streak came to an end after the Rebels shot a season-high 56.4 percent.
It was the second straight loss for Arkansas following a seven-game winning streak, and it dropped coach Mike Anderson to 61-7 in Bud Walton Arena.
“Ole Miss did a good job of attacking us, and they took control of the game early in the first half,” Anderson said. “In conference play, you’ve got to bring it and Ole Miss did something I didn’t think they would, especially here. But they came in and they stole one.”
While the Razorbacks struggled to find answers, Ole Miss (11-6, 2-3) coach Andy Kennedy continued his mastery at Arkansas.
Stefan Moody had 18 points to lead five players in double figures as Kennedy improved to 11-4 overall against the Razorbacks, including 5-3 in Bud Walton Arena.
The Rebels have won seven of eight games overall against Arkansas, and Saturday night’s win came in Ole Miss’ first game back on the road since a crushing overtime loss at Kentucky.
As at Rupp Arena, the Rebels looked perfectly comfortable in the hostile environment — hitting eight of their first nine shots and 20 of 27 (74.1 percent) in the first half while taking a 52-40 halftime lead.
“I do think our guys get excited to play here,” Kennedy said. “Because of the fandom, and because of the energy that is in the building. I think it does give you an extra push.”
Ole Miss had several chances to put away the No. 1 Wildcats two weeks ago, but they were rarely challenged on Saturday.
Moody put Ole Miss up 27-12 after a first-half 3-pointer, and the Rebels’ lead was never less than eight points in the second half. All nine players scored for Ole Miss, with Jarvis Summers finishing with 17 points in front of a season-high 18,352 in Bud Walton Arena.
“To me, it’s a pleasure to coach in this environment,” Kennedy said. “We knew they were going to make a run at us; our guys were able to sustain it.”
Sebastian Saiz had 12 points and LaDarius White 10, while Dwight Coleby finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Rebels.
Arkansas had won seven straight before a loss at Tennessee earlier this week, but it’s now lost two straight for the second time this season after falling to the hot-shooting Ole Miss.
“It’s hard to win a basketball game when they only miss seven shots in the first half,” Qualls said. “That’s ridiculous. Like I said, it was one of those nights.”
Ole Miss: The Rebels entered the game 11th in the SEC in field goal percentage, hitting 42.1 percent of their shots this season. Their 56.4 percent shooting effort against the Razorbacks topped their previous season best of 54.8 percent (34 of 62) in a win over Austin Peay on Jan. 3.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks were outscored 33-15 in bench points, with Anthlon Bell scoring 10 of those. They also uncharacteristically finished with zero fast-break points.
The game was officiated by only two referees, Glenn Tuitt and Marc Ellard, after Anthony Jordan pulled a calf muscle during the pregame.
Ole Miss: returns to the road at Georgia on Tuesday.
Arkansas: hosts Alabama on Thursday.