FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. • So much for that Bud Walton Arena homecourt advantage. The Arkansas Razorbacks came into Tuesday night’s clash with Missouri 45-5 on their home floor under third-year coach Mike Anderson.
Make that 45-6.
Frank Haith’s Tigers withstood a Razorback rally in the final five minutes in one of the least hospitable road environments in college basketball and pulled away a 75-71 victory. Haith became just the fifth coach to beat Anderson in the Hogs’ home arena, joining Alabama’s Anthony Grant, Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Florida’s Billy Donovan, who’s done it twice and before Tuesday was the only coach to beat Arkansas at home this season.
Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown, both saddled with foul trouble in the first half, erupted in the second half and both finished with 24 points.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-4 and moved back above .500 in SEC play at 4-3 as they enter the toughest stretch of conference action. Mizzou hosts No. 11 Kentucky Saturday then plays at No. 3 Florida next Tuesday.
Arkansas fell to 13-7 and 2-5 in league play.
Rashad Maddon led the Razorbacks with 20 points.
Missouri overcame 19 turnovers but made up for it on the glass, outrebounding Arkansas 42-26.
While Arkansas missed eight of its first nine shots and had trouble handling the ball, Missouri controlled the boards early and capitalized on turnovers with transition baskets. The Tigers held off the Hogs late in the first half despite Brown and Ross sitting on the bench with two fouls apiece, forcing Haith to play all three of his point guards at once, with Wes Clark, Shane Rector and Jordan Clarkson on the floor together for the first time this season.
With Ross and Brown out for a long stretch in the first half, Ryan Rosburg picked up the scoring slack in the first half with eights points, matching his season-high in conference play. Clark, in a 3-of-23 shooting slump since SEC play began last month, knocked down two jumpers in first half.
Coty Clarke’s 3-pointer with 4 seconds left in the half pulled Arkansas within 36-34. The Tigers led despite just one basket from Brown, the SEC’s leading scorer, who played just 10 minutes.
While Missouri showed restraint from the 3-point arc, hitting 2 of 3 from long range, Arkansas made 8 of 17 of its 3s. The Tigers countered inside, outscoring Arkansas in the paint 16-2.
It didn’t take long for Arkansas to seize control in the second half as the Tigers turned the ball over four times in the half’s first five minutes. Michael Qualls’ alley-oop dunk off a steal in the backcourt put the Razorbacks ahead 43-41 with 15:32 left, their first lead since 11-10 in the first half.
But the Tigers didn’t back down, answering with a 14-3 run, including three consecutive 3-pointers, one from Ross and two from Brown.
Then came a 12-2 wave from Arkansas, fueled by its full-court defense as the Tigers gave away two more possessions in the backcourt that turned into easy Razorback baskets. Brown mishandled a pass from Ross at the top of the key, and Maddon swiped it for Arkansas’ 10th steal. His free throw on the other end tied the game at 58-58 with 4:20 left.
Missouri went back ahead on a couple Ross free throws, but Qualls answered with a 3 for a 61-60 lead … only to watch Brown knock down consecutive jumpers in the lane to push the Tigers back ahead. Maddon evened the score at 64-64 with a three-point play on the next possession.
Then, it was Ross’ turn again. With a minute to play, Clarkson drove the baseline and kicked out a pass to Ross at the top of the key, and the senior knocked down the go-ahaed 3-pointer, putting Mizozu in front 67-64 with 59 seconds left. After an Arkansas miss, Ross sank two more free throws as the Tigers built an insurmountable lead.