Mississippi native Julysess Nobles had a career-high 24 points and 7 assists and B.J. Young also added 24 points as Arkansas whipped No. 15 Mississippi State 98-88 Saturday night before a season-high 12,200 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
It was the seventh straight win for the Razorbacks (12-3), who finished a seven-game home stand unbeaten in grand style with the win over the Bulldogs (13-3).
"I thought our guys played a complete game," Anderson said. "I mean if you are talking about all the things coming together – defensively, offensively, guys coming off the bench playing well, Ju Nobles, I don't know if it was a career game, but he played almost a perfect game.
"The guy (Nobles) scores 24 points, 7 assists and I am still getting on him, but I think he is a big boy and can take that," Anderson added.
"I thought he (Nobles) led the charge and I thought Sanchez, his senior leadership was very evident tonight," Anderson said. "He was talking and calming the guys down."
The 98 points was also a season-high for the Razorbacks, who shot a sizzling 56.5 percent from the field. That included 67.9 percent shooting in the second half when Arkansas made 19-of-28 field goal attempts.
"I never envisioned we would score 98 points, but I can say that we got the tempo to our liking and we made free throws," Anderson said. "And when you make shots, good things take place and I thought that just really energized our defense."
Anderson has been preaching for his team to increase its level of intensity and performance as league action rolled around.
"This is SEC play and I thought we raised our level of intensity up for 40 minutes," Anderson said.
Anderson was thrilled with the crowd and felt like it sparked his team.
"Our crowd was unbelievable," Anderson said. "That was fun basketball for our fans to have a chance to watch and enjoy. So when you ask the question if that was the kind of basketball that I envisioned, yes."
Anderson said he could feel the difference walking out on the court before tip-off.
"I was very encouraged," Anderson said. "Coming in you could just feel the atmosphere was totally different. It is kind of like they were amped up. I talk about having our guys up once we get to conference play. I thought tonight our fans were out in numbers and were into the game. They participated and that is what I expect from Razorback fans. They were great and our guys fed off of them."
Nobles, who had been struggling with his shot, was 7-of-11 from the field while knocking down four 3-pointers while Young was 10-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-4 on triples.
"I just thought our guys played very unselfish on offense, shared the basketball, moved the basketball and I thought it set the tone for the second half when we came out with the same mindset of defending, stopping and sharing the basketball," Anderson said.
Nobles said it was a matter of putting in work on his shot and encouragement from his teammates.
"I was struggling shooting the ball and Coach has been on me," Nobles said. "We have been in the gym putting in time. I have practiced every day putting in the time in the gym -- that was a great game for me and my teammates. I give credit to my teammates because they keep me going every day. They say, 'Ju, we know what you can do. So just keep playing.'"
Not only was Nobles playing against one of his home-state teams, but Young revealed his was playing against his dad's school.
"It was a great win against a great team," Young said. "They have got great guards and great bigs. This was kind of a similar game for me as Julysses because my dad is from Mississippi State. He's from down there. My dad was born and raised in Starkville and moved to St. Louis when he was about 20.
"So I went down there every summer and went down to a lot of Mississippi State football games and stuff like that," Young added. "My dad wanted me to go to Mississippi State. My mom wanted me to come to Arkansas. So my family is up in the crowd. It's a big game for them."
The Razorbacks forced 18 turnovers from the Bulldogs while keeping the ball out of the hands of point guard Dee Bost.
"We want to be disruptive and I thought we did a good job of that," Anderson said. "We just kept them off kilter. We were unpredictable with our traps and not only that, but we did a good job of taking the ball out of Dee Bost's hands for quite awhile."
Young noted that his team's pressure was probably the best that the Bulldogs had seen this season.
"I think we put a lot of great ball pressure on them that they haven't seen throughout the whole year," Young said. "Constant ball pressure, fullcourt pressure that disrupted them a lot and made their bigs come up the floor and help them and they weren't able to walk it down.
"We made them waste shot clock because they weren't able just to walk it down and get it right into to the post like they usually want to do and play inside out," Young added. "I think our fullcourt pressure really disrupted them throughout the whole game."
Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said his team just got whipped.
"Give Arkansas a lot of credit," Stansbury said. "I thought Arkansas played extremely well on both ends. Defensively we couldn't contain their dribble, and they jumped up and made shots from everywhere. Lots of different people.
"Then they sped us up offensively and we just didn't do a very good job handling their pressure and in turn getting the ball inside some," Stansbury added.
Arkansas, which never trailed after taking an 8-7 lead on Sanchez' basket less than five minutes into the game, committed just nine miscues of its own.
The Razorbacks took a 43-37 lead into halftime and then came out and scored on nine of their first 11 second-half possessions.
"At halftime, I didn' think we could play much worse," Stansbury said. "We go in with 11 turnovers, only down 6. I didn't think we could play any worse.
"But hey, I found out we could," Stansbury added. "The second half I think Arkansas scored on nine of their first 11 possessions ... Hey, you've got to get some stops when you're on the road .. and they shot 60-something percent in the second half .. Thats' were it starts. Defensively we weren't very good."
The Razorbacks led 75-55 with 9:13 left on Hunter Mickelson's basket before the Bulldogs made a run.
Deville Smith's three free throws closed it to 79-68 with 7:02 left, but Arkansas regained its footing on Nobles' old-fashioned 3-point play.
Arkansas quickly got that margin back to 19 when Young scored on the break to make it 90-71 with 4:06 remaining.
"To me, it was against a good team, but this is only one game and there are 15 more and every game is going to be an interesting game," Anderson said. "Every game is going to have its own characteristics. You will see different things.
"Every game is going to be an adventure for our basketball team because we are such a young basketball team," Anderson added, "as was evident going down the stretch where we were up 20 points and it turns out being a 10-point game."
Smith had 25 points off the bench for Mississippi State while Bost added 12 and Rodney Hood 17.
Arnett Moultrie had 9 points and 10 rebounds for the visitors.
Arkansas returns to action Wednesday at Ole Miss and then hosts LSU next Saturday at 8 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.
"Coach A is a great coach and we have got a great team, but we have work to do," Nobles said. "This is just one game. We have to take it one game at a time, put this behind us and move forward to Ole Miss now, try to get this win on the road."