It looked for awhile like the Grinch may have stolen both teams' shooting touch, but the Razorbacks regained enough of their's to put another victory under the tree before Christmas arrives.
Bobby Portis had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Michael Qualls added 17 points and Rashad Madden 11 as Arkansas ended up routing Milwaukee 84-54 Monday night before 7,725 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
"I thought it was a good performance, especially because we weren't at our best in the first half," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "But we found a way to grind it out. We played at Milwaukee's pace in the first half. But the second half was what I had been looking for.
"Before the game, normally you put up a lot of instructions and what is going to take place in the game, but I wrote...D-em up," Anderson added. "I thought tonight we did a good job of D-ing them up and taking Milwaukee out of what they wanted to do on offense. Eventually your offense is going to kick in and the second half it was a much better free-flowing offensive game."
Qualls thinks the team might have been home for the holidays already mentally if not physically at the start of the game.
"I think everybody was just ready and eager to not only get the win, but go home," Qualls said. "You come out a little sluggish, but then after awhile you realize and you pick up a sense of urgency. Every game is a big game and we still need the W so we just had to come out and put our stamp on the game."
It was the first double-double of the season for Portis - who has five games straight of 18 points or more - and the seventh time this year that he and Qualls have combined for over 30 points in a game for the Razorbacks (9-2).
"I feel there are times when the team needs us to score some," Portis said. "I think it is our time to do those things at certain points in the game. Just like in the second half when we came out that me and Mike had to spark the offense. At certain moments, it is just time for us to put the ball in the hole."
That pair combined to make 13-of-24 field goals on a night when the Razorbacks shot 45 percent from their field - 50 percent in the second half - and held the Panthers (5-8) to just 28 percent from the floor.
"I felt like everybody took pride on defense in the second half," Qualls said.
Anthlon Bell added 8 and Moses Kingsley 7 while Anton Beard had 5 of his team's 11 steals against a team coached by Rob Jeter that was in the NCAA Tournament last season.
"We wanted to see if we could get the game to be played at our pace,:" Jeter said. "The first 20 minutes, I thought we did a nice job of moving the ball, making the extra pass. Trying to keep the game at a pace that is more comfortable for us knowing that, in this place, I really feel like Arkansas is one of the best teams in the country in this gym. Their energy, their efficiency is through the roof."
Milwaukee had 19 turnovers - 10 in the first half and nine in the second.
As a coach, you'er never going to accept 19 turnovers, it doesn't matter who you play," Jeter said. "Especially when half of those were things that were because of pressure, but not because of the press. Just a ball goes through your hands, stepping on the sideline. Those are the things I'd like to see my group improve on."
Qualls feels like his team is headed in the right direction.
"As a team I feel like we are fine and going in the right direction due to the other players coming in and contributing to the game," Qualls said. "...Especially going into conference time when it gets real. You either go down or you play better. There is no even keel I feel like when you go into conference. You either get better or you get a little bit taken away.
"I think everybody has the focus that we need so you can just enjoy the break and just get back after it on Christmas," Qualls added.
The Razorback football team attended the game, were honored at halftime and then handed out 30 new bicycles to children from the Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club.
Arkansas' next game is Sunday when it hosts Northwestern State at 2:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised by the SEC Network.
Michael Qualls and Bobby Portis pressure on defense.
Qualls goes in for a dunk
Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema and several of his player passed out new bicycles from a sponsor at halftime.
There were 7,725 fans on hand for Monday's game.
Arkansas 84, Milwaukee 54
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballWednesday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016