The Razorbacks took one step closer to a berth in the Big Dance on Wednesday night by absolutely stomping on an arch nemesis on Senior Night.
Anthlon Bell had 14 of his career-high 23 points in a three-minute span in the first half and hit 7 of Arkansas' season-high 17 3-pointers as the home team put five players in double figures while routing Ole Miss 110-80 before 16,508 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
"As a coach, that's what you want," Razorback head coach Mike Anderson said of his team's sixth straight win and eighth in nine games. "You want to be trending at the right time the right way. We're playing good basketball. We're playing exciting basketball. And we're winning. The things we can control, we're controlling, and that is each and every game.
"But it was an outstanding performance by our basketball team. I can't say it enough," Anderson added. "You talk about your defense and you talk about playing fast, and to have six turnovers in a game like this here, it just tells you that our guys are really kind of focusing in on the things that we work on each and every day."
Senior Mardracus Wade had a season-high 18 points with 5 3-pointers while Rashad Madden added 14 points and 7 assists and senior Coty Clarke and junior Alandise Harris 13 points each for the Razorbacks (21-9, 10-7).
"It would be nice if I said senior night was scripted like that, but it wasn't scripted like that," Anderson said. "… Ole Miss is a lot better than what took place tonight. But I think we had something to do with that.
"I thought our defense was just stifling," Anderson added. "Just all over the place. And we always talk about, the nights we shoot the basketball, and our defense is engaged, our bench is engaged, then some good things are going to take place."
Ole Miss actually led 17-16 in a game in which the Razorbacks jumped ahead 56-34 at halftime and got out to a 97-51 advantage with over 10 minutes still left in the game.
"We just stayed on the accelerator," Clarke said. "Keeping everything in front of us, starting with our defense. The offense will take care of itself … Trusting each other to make plays. Guys were knocking shots down, finishing. It all started with our defense. Credit everything to defense."
The Razorbacks hit 17 of their first 25 3-point attempts before missing their final five and also were 19-of-20 from the free throw line .
"Freight-trained, buzz-sawed - whatever you want to call it," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "That's what happened to us tonight.
"The one thing that Arkansas is very, very good at and most especially in this building, and we knew it, was creating live-ball turnovers," Kennedy added. "We were in the game, making a couple of shots, battling, both teams competing. Then we had three or four possessions where they created turnovers in our backcourt which led directly to baskets.
"Anthlon Bell then came in and just changed the game," Kennedy said.
The win ended a six-game losing streak to the Rebels (17-13, 8-9) – including an unheard of four straight losses to them at Bud Walton Arena.
"I think they got tired of hearing about that," Kennedy said.
Bell got his 23 points in just 12 minutes of action while Wade had his 18 and Clarke his 13 while playing only 18 minutes each. Harris scored his 13 points in 13 minutes.
"That don't happen that often," Anderson said. "When it does you had better enjoy it. But what it does it continues to breed confidence in this basketball team. And one of the things you want to have in a basketball team this time of year is confidence and you want to have energy and so those efficient minutes are the byproducts of guys coming in and giving guys rest and playing with energy. "
Bell was 8-of-11 overall and 7-of-10 from 3-point range.
"We were just hitting shots, we were just on tonight," Bell said. "Good ball movement, everybody was sharing the ball and I just account it to that."
Bell admitted knocking down a runner as soon as he got in got him going.
"It felt good," Bell said. "Once I just hit the floater and then I came down and hit one in transition it just felt good the rest of the night. It's like the rim was just wide open."
Anderson was extremely pleased with Wade, who endured a slump his junior year and went a stretch this season with much of an impact.
"It was like everything came together for him tonight," Anderson said. "I was really happy for him. He had his family here and to see him, I have been over the course with him for three years, to see him have one of his better games on Senior Night. There is not a better way to go out. "
Wade agreed with that sentiment and noted that he, Bell and Clarke finally put it all together on one night.
"That is awesome," Wade said. "Me and Anthlon and Coty always joke around. We call ourselves the flame gamers because we got flamers – we can shoot the ball. Today it just kind of like clicked all at once and that is what we need and hopefully it can carry over game after game and we can continue to build on that."
Marshall Henderson had 15 points and Jarvis Summers 11 to lead Ole Miss.
Henderson was 6-of-15 overall and 3-of-11 from 3-point range while Summers was just 4-of-15 and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The Razorbacks, who shot 47.1 percent overall from the field, had just six turnovers while forcing the Rebels into 18.
Arkansas concludes its regular season at Saturday at 3 p.m at Alabama.
"I feel like we know where we want to go, but at the same time we're staying humble and hungry," Wade said. "We still have a lot to do. We still have to get better each and every day. And I feel like we do the things we do each and every day and that's pressuring the ball, getting after guys and knocking down wide open shots and getting guys the ball. I think we'll be there."
Anthlon Bell fires against Ole Miss.
Bell scored a career-high 23 points.
Mardracus Wade scored 18 points.
Wade finds a loose ball.
Coty Clarke looks for an outlet.
Fred Gulley celebrates an Ole Miss turnover.
Ky Madden looks to the crowd after finishing a scoring play.
Bobby Portis contests a shot.
Bell and Wade celebrate an Arkansas hot streak.
Coty Clarke muscles his way to the basket.
Jason Ivester Photos
Arkansas 110, Ole Miss 80
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