Arkansas 79, Georgia 75

Bobby Portis has 21 points, Michael Qualls 17 points and 7 rebounds and Alandise Harris 15 points off the bench as No. 23 Arkansas rallies past Georgia 79-75 Tuesday night in Athens to win its sixth straight game, fifth in the last eight SEC road games and its 9th win in its last 11 league contests.

ATHENS, Ga. - Bobby Portis scored 21 points, Michael Qualls added 17 and No. 23 Arkansas rallied from a first-half deficit of 13 points to beat Georgia 79-75 on Tuesday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for each team.

Alandise Harris added 15 for Arkansas (12-2, 1-0 SEC) , who needed a strong second half for its sixth straight win while snapping a six-game winning streak for Georgia (9-4, 0-1), who lost for the first time in eight home games this season.

It was the fifth road win for the Razorbacks in their last eight road games and their 9th win in their last 11 overall SEC games dating back to last season.

"It's a little tougher to do it on the road, but when you do it, it tells you a little bit about your team, the mental toughness, the physical toughness and just finding a win to win against a very good Georgia team," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said.

"Tonight showed our toughness," Anderson added. "This team was tested during the non-conference play and we learned from the two losses. We knew those lessons would be very valuable come SEC time and our guys rallied for each other tonight. I’m proud of these guys.”

Harris noted that the Razorbacks are ready to shed the tag of not being able to win on the road - something they obviously have begun to did since the stretch run last season.

"This was a great win for us," Harris said. "People say we can't win on the road. That's the stigma of Arkansas forever."

The Razorbacks played from behind - falling down 13 in the half and still trailing by 10 in the second half - before taking their first lead with about 6 minutes remaining.

"We talk about trying to be a second-half team and I thought our guys come out and just have great energy and I thought our pressure defense and fatigue factor was really big in this game," Anderson said.

"They were shooting lights out in the beginning of the game and you knew that was going to take place because of emotion and it being the first game of SEC play," Anderson added. "They were excited, but our guys were excited as well."

A rebound and basket by Georgia's Marcus Thornton with 4.5 seconds remaining cut the Arkansas lead to 77-75. Two free throws by Qualls pushed the lead back to four points.

Nemanja Djurisic led Georgia with 16 points. The loss ended the Bulldogs' six-game winning streak, their longest in four years.

That was a high-level game," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said following the game. "You have to give Arkansas a lot of credit. I thought they played very well and very determined. I thought we played really hard, but we didn't get the stops we needed to get.

"You can't give up 50-plus percent from the field and expect to win versus a good team," Fox added. " We made some errors. We had 17 turnovers and missed some free throws, but we've got to be able to get more stops than we did tonight to win a high-level game. Give Arkansas credit. They've got a good club.

"It was like an NCAA Tournament game," Fox continued."Both teams got after it, but they made more plays than we did. We made our share and we competed hard, but they earned the victory tonight."

With Arkansas leading 74-70, Georgia's Kenny Gaines missed a long jumper. Following a missed attempted tip by Georgia, the Razorbacks quickly pushed the ball the other way to set up a powerful jam by Qualls.

Razorback freshman Anton Beard and sophomore Manuale Watkins had six points each, Anthlon Bell 5 and Jacorey Williams 2 as the Razorback bench contributed 34 points overall.

""I thought we were just kind of dialed in," Anderson said. "We had a lot of unsung heroes. bench was unbelievable. Anton Beard, Manuale Watkins. I thought Alandis Harris had some big, big buckets and some big, big plays for us."

Beard, Watkins and Harris were all in the game with Portis and Qualls down the stretch.

"I went with a group that had it going on," Anderson said. "They did a tremendous job. Michael Qualls, he leaves it all out there on the floor. It was a total team win against an outstanding Georgia basketball team."

Georgia out-rebounded Arkansas 40-25, but allowed the Razorbacks to shoot 51.7 percent - including 57.7 percent in the first half.

"We rebounded it well, but that kind of hides the fact that we couldn't guard them," Fox said.

Georgia led the full first half, including a big lead of 13 points at 38-25. The Bulldogs made only four of their first 18 shots in the second half, opening the door for the Razorbacks.

"In the second half, our defense was unbelievable," Portis said. "... We put pressure on the ball."

Arkansas pulled even for the first time at 61-all on a 3-pointer by Anton Beard. It took its first lead at 63-61 on a jumper by Harris with 6:33 remaining.

Georgia freshman Yante Maten answered with an inside basket but missed a free throw, leaving the Bulldogs with their last lead at 64-63.

Harris sank a long jumper and then added a 3-pointer on the Razorbacks' next possession. A basket by Qualls pushed the lead to 70-64.

"We just could not get our defense stabilized in the second half," Fox said.

Djurisic had 11 points as Georgia led 44-37 at halftime, despite 15 points by Portis. Georgia made six of nine 3-pointers in the half.

Arkansas, which moved back into the Top 25 on Monday, was ranked when opening its SEC schedule for the first time since 1999.

The Razorbacks will host Vanderbilt Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

TIPS INS

Arkansas: The school announced before the game Anderson signed a two-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season. His salary is unchanged at $2.2 million annually.

... Arkansas played its SEC opener on the road for the third straight year.

...Georgia: The 9-3 non-conference record was Georgia's best since 2011, when Bulldogs were 11-2 before finishing with 21 wins and its last berth in the NCAA tournament.

... Thornton and Juwan Parker each had 11 points. Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier each had 10.


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