Late Night at Bud Walton Arena didn’t go well at all for the Razorbacks.
Stefan Moody’s 18 points led five Ole Miss players in double figures and the Rebels shot 74.1 percent from the field in the first half and ended Arkansas' 16-game home winning streak by hammering the Razorbacks 96-82 before a season-high crowd of 18,352 fans.
"We didn't play our best," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "Our defense was really bad in the first half. They shot 75 percent. It seemed like we were a step slow, and I think it came down to toughness as well...That's on me."
The game - which didn’t tip until 8:30 p.m. because of TV - featured only two refs when Anthony Jordan injured his hamstring in warm ups and ESPNU announcers actually did the game from Bristol, Conn, instead of actually being at the contest.
“We made a bunch of shots, didn't we?” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy noted. “We need one of those because we have had a couple of people do that to us. First time we have done that in quite some time.
“I thought we were really aggressive early,” Kennedy added. “We were reading, they had some switching things going and we were trying to make sure we had the proper read and we had some bigs roll to the basket early and make some baskets and I think that calmed us down.”
Bobby Portis had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, Michael Qualls and Rashad Madden both had 22 points each and Anthlon Bell added 10 as they scored 77 of the 82 points for Arkansas (13-4, 2-2).
“We just didn’t bring it tonight and it was just one of those days,” Qualls said. “Just going to come back and start a new trend. Can’t do nothing about it right now. We just weren’t physical enough and it seemed like we were a half-step behind tonight.”
Portis echoed that sentiment on a day when Ole Miss was 20-of-27 from the field before intermission and would end up shooting 56.4 percent.
Ole Miss jumped out to 27-10 lead and Arkansas never got closer than 63-54 at which point Portis missed two free throws with 15:26 left in the game.
The Rebels (11-6, 2-2) eventually roared back away and led 83-65 with 6:58 left in the game.
“We were battling uphill and we never could get that stop, never could get that bucket,” Anderson said. “It seemed like every time we had that opportunity to do that, it would be a loose ball rebound that they would come up with.
“I remember distinctly in the second half there was a ball that they dove over and got and we were making a run and they got it and now they get another possession and they scored on it,” Anderson added. “It seems like they always had that cushion.”
The Razorbacks shot 41.5 percent from the field, made 8-of-22 3-pointers and 30-of-39 free throws.
Madden - the league's top free throw shooter at 92.2 percent coming into the game - made 12-of-14 on the night and is now 59-of-65 on charity tosses this season, but also had five or his team's turnovers.
Portis was 11-of-14 from the line and 6-of-11 from the field.
Anderson was not happy about having just two referees for the game.
"One of the things I was disappointed in was that they only had two officials," Anderson said. "In a game of this magnitude, I think that's … So we had no rythym to the game. We shot 30 some odd free throws, they shot 30 some odd free throws.
"I was really disappointed in that (two refs)," Anderson added. " I just thought it wasn't as good a called game as it could have been, especially with a game of this magnitude, knowing there's going to be some physicality taking place."
Anderson was then asked if that cost his team the game?
"I didn't say that," Anderson said. "I just said it probably could have been called better."
It appeared Anderson blew by Kennedy on the post-game handshake while talking with a ref, but both coaches claimed there was one.
“No, I shook Andy’s hand,” Anderson said. “My attention was averted on the official, but I did turn and shake Andy’s hand. That’s no big deal. Andy and I are really good friends. He knows that. That’s no big deal at all. Andy’s team played well.”
Kennedy - now 5-3 at Bud Walton Arena against Arkansas - said that was the case as well.
"No, he did," Kennedy said. "He had another conversation going on. Mike and our great friends, he coached my alma mater, man. You know he was at UAB."
Arkansas was 13-2 and jumped to No. 19 in the Associated Poll on Monday only to lose at Tennessee on Tuesday and then at home on Saturday.
“It is what it is,” Anderson said. “It is the nature of conference play. We have played four games and we have 14 left in conference play so we have got some work to do. Let me put it that way.”
Anton Beard reacts to one of his two early fouls.
Ole Miss 96, Arkansas 82
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