On a night when some of the greatest players in Razorbacks history were on hand to honor legendary coach Eddie Sutton, the current Arkansas squad ended a three-game skid.
Dusty Hannahs had 22 points, Jabril Durham a career-high 17 points and 6 assists and Moses Kingsley 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Razorbacks downed Missouri 84-72 Saturday night before 13,040 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
“I was really proud of our guys for coming off a tough Auburn game and I thought we really came out and established defensively how we wanted the game to go,” Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said.
They did so with former Razorback greats such as Sidney Moncrief, Darrell Walker, Ron Brewer, Joe Kleine and Scott Hastings in the stands and on the court at halftime when a banner was put in the rafters in honor of Sutton.
“You don’t want to lose on Eddie Sutton’s Memorial Day,” Hannahs said. “He is a legend here and he was the pioneer of this basketball program and you definitely don’t want to lose on someone’s night like that.”
Arkansas (13-14, 6-8) had lost its last three contests, including a 96-92 loss to Auburn at home on Wednesday night.
Hannahs noted he and his teammates took all of the losses hard, especially the one on their home court.
“It’s great because losing is just sickening,” Hannahs said. “No one likes to do it, especially losing three in a row and especially losing one at home to the Auburn team.
“Growing up here (in Arkansas), it hurts and I, we, just want to win for the state and for the Razorback program and that kind of stuff.
“It takes a toll on you and we needed to use this game to shoot us into these next four or five games we have left to go into the conference tournament and its going to be a wacky tournament and know that we can win that tournament and have that confidence throughout the rest of the year.”
Durham not only had his career high in points, but also dished out the six assists, four rebounds and two steals while not committing a turnover in 28 minutes.
“My teammates know that I put a lot of pressure on myself when we lose so it felt really good going out there and being a threat, making a team honest and a actually affecting the game in a positive way,” Durham said, “especially after the other few games I had been having.”
Durham scored his team’s first seven points in a game that the Razorbacks - who beat the Tigers 94-61 earlier this season in Columbia - led from start to finish.
Missouri head coach Kim Anderson admitted his plan for the game backfired on him.
“When they shoot threes like they did (10-of-26), it is tough for us to defend them,” Kim Anderson said. “We kind of went into it with the idea that we were going to let Jabril shoot from 3 and he knocked down two early. So that didn’t work.”
Durham was 5-of-11 from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 4-of-6 from the free throw line on a night when Arkansas shot just 40.3 percent overall and Missouri (10-17, 3-11) just 39 percent as its two-game winning streak ended.
“A lot of teams have been doing that and I have been shooting every day, shooting after practice and I am confident with my shot,” Durham said. “So if they keep sagging off, I will continue to shoot it for sure.”
That certainly helped the Razorbacks on a rare off night for Anthlon Bell, who was 1-of-11 from the field, 1-of-8 from 3-point range and finished with just seven points.
His one made three pointer of the night came when Kingsley missed a dunk and the ball bounced out beyond the 3-point line to Keaton Miles (2 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists).
Miles quickly got it to Bell, who swished his shot.
“Bell is a guy that is normally good for 15 to 20 points and tonight we see him go 1-of-11 from the field,” Mike Anderson said. “It is about being a team and our guys did a good job of really establishing the low post in the second half moreso.”
Kingsley had 11 of his points and 8 of his rebounds after Arkansas led 43-30 at intermission.
“We couldn’t match up with Kingsley,” Kim Anderson said. “He was a monster in there.”
Kevin Puryear led Missouri with 23 points and 7 rebounds while Namon Wright had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Ryan Rosburg 11 points before fouling out.
Arkansas will return to action Tuesday night when it hosts LSU in a 6 p.m. game.
The Tigers beat the Razorbacks 77-75 in Baton Rouge last month.