Hogs Steal One At Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Even the hometown clock operator wanted to go home early after watching the first 39 minutes between Arkansas and Missouri on Tuesday night.

Tigers coach Quin Snyder called a timeout after a Linas Kleiza basket to cut Arkansas' lead to 57-52 with 57 seconds remaining, but the clock wound all the way down to 47 before anyone noticed.

Not that it mattered.

Arkansas (6-1) reversed its mistakes from the final minutes of the Razorbacks' 72-60 loss against now-No. 1 Illinois on Saturday in North Little Rock to earn its first road win of the season, 62-52, against the Tigers (4-4) in front of 10.086 in Mizzou Arena..

The win was the first by Arkansas against a major conference (in this case, Big 12) team at home or on the road since beating Wake Forest 75-59 in 1998 and it was the first road win by a Southeastern Conference team against a major conference this season.

Arkansas junior Eric Ferguson hit the Razorbacks' first 3-pointer of the game to preserve a 522-game streak of at least one trey per game and it came at a crucial time, putting the Hogs ahead 50-44 with 3 minutes, 29 seconds to play.

Ronnie Brewer, who scored a game-high 20 points, followed Ferguson's 3-pointer with a driving field goal and an alley-oop to Olu Famutimi for a 55-50 lead.

After missing 3 of 9 free throws in the final six minutes against Illinois, the Razorbacks made 8 of 10 free throws in the final 2:16 to preserve the win against Missouri.

"It was a hard-fought game by both teams," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "I'm proud of the guys in our locker room, (of) the effort they gave and down the stretch to make plays, make good decisions.

"We did a lot of good things in this game."

Arkansas reversed a slow-shooting first half (11 of 28, 39 percent) with a 60 percent clip in the second half while holding Missouri to a meager 29.8 percent (17 of 57) for the game.

Arkansas forced 18 turnovers, blocked 7 shots - led by 7-foot freshman center Steven Hill's 4 -- and won the rebounding battle 38-36, sparked by 8 each from Famutimi and Rashard Sullivan.

"I thought their height bothered us early in the game," Snyder said. "There were some times we got in there and their length affected some shots and (they) blocked some shots. They're a good ballclub.

"No disrespect to Arkansas, but it's a game right there to the end. It's a one-possession game."

The Razorbacks enter final exams having passed their last major test of the nonconference season. Arkansas will be off today and Thursday before getting back to work Friday morning.

Arkansas will be back in action Dec. 16 against Tennessee State in Bud Walton Arena.

"I don't think we played our best game," said Brewer, who went from 1 of 7 from the free-throw line against Illinois to a perfect 6 of 6 against Missouri. "Coming off the Illinois game, I don't think we had a letdown. Missouri fought with us and took it to the end. But we knocked down shots down the stretch and came away with the win."

Missouri started the second half just as poorly as the first.

After going 0 of 11 to start the game, Missouri started the second half 0 of 7, but Arkansas couldn't take advantage and led just 31-25 when Missouri finally started scoring.

Two quick Tigers baskets off offensive breakdowns by the Razorbacks led to an Arkansas timeout and the Hogs answered with better execution, rebuilding their lead to 38-33.

Brewer connected with Famutimi for another lob score out of a timeout, but the teams traded airballs and turnovers for the next four minutes.

Ferguson, who tied with Brewer for team-high honors with five assists, threw a beauty to Brewer for another slam and Jefferson hit 1 of 2 free throws to put Arkansas up 47-44 to set up Ferguson's back-breaking 3-pointer.

Jefferson made 5 of 6 from the line down the stretch while Missouri hit 3 of 6 foul shots and missed long jumper after long jumper.

"We learned from our mistakes from the Illinois game," Ferguson said. "We worked on our free throws, and that's what won us the game."

The first half was a brick-fest after Arkansas jumped on the Tigers for a 6-0 lead, keyed by a Brewer jumper, a steal by Jefferson out of a halfcourt trap for a Brewer layup and another steal by Famutimi leading to a Charles Thomas field goal.

Snyder called a quick timeout just 1:38 into the game to a smattering of boos and Arkansas missed its next seven shots while Missouri didn't hit its first field goal until Marshall Brown made it 6-5, Arkansas, at the 12:26 mark of the first half.

The Razorbacks ended an 0 of 7 slump when an alley-oop by Sullivan -intended for Darian Townes - found the hoop for an 8-5 Arkansas advantage, but Missouri took a 12-10 lead after a 3-pointer by Marshall and a basket by Kleiza, who led Missouri with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Arkansas made its first real field goal since Thomas' layup at the 18:22 mark when Ferguson made a cut to the lane and took a feed from Sullivan to cut Missouri's lead to 14-12 with 7:11 to play in the first half.

Townes scored Arkansas' next six points on two turnaround jumpers and an easy lay-in from a steal by Jonathon Modica for a 20-19 lead.

Marshall banked a 3-pointer high off the glass for Missouri's last lead, 23-22. Brewer made two free throws, Townes hit 1 of 2 and Famutimi scored on a drive just before the half to put Arkansas ahead 27-25.

"We had a slow first half, but picked it up with good defensive play," Townes said. "We just came out and had a good win on the road."


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