Arkansas 94, Missouri 91

Charles Thomas' 21 points leads five Arkansas players in double figures as the Razorbacks downed Missouri 94-91 Wednesday night before 18,261 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

Forty Minutes of Hell, Forty Minutes of Pel – whatever you want to call it - Forty Minutes of Fun was back at Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday night.

To top it off, the home fans went home happy after a game which featured 21 lead changes and 12 ties.

Charles Thomas had 21 points, Patrick Beverley 19 points and Sonny Weems 16 as the University of Arkansas put five players in double figures and outlasted Missouri 94-91 Wednesday night before 18,621 fans at Bud Walton Arena.

"I wanted to see an attitude where nothing phased us - just keep playing, just keep playing," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey. "If we were going to win, we were going to have to get down and guard. I'm very proud. We didn't play perfect, but I felt like we played to win. When our manhood, our heart, was questioned, we didn't back down."

Weems hit two free throws to cap the scoring with 15 seconds left and the Razorbacks (5-1) then survived two late shots to secure the win.

Gary Ervin added 12, Darian Townes 11 and Stefan Welsh chipped in 9 for Arkansas attack, which shot 57.6 percent from the field for the game and outrebounded Missouri 34-33.

Stefhon Hannah had a game-high 28 to lead Missouri (5-2), who is coached by former Arkansas and Nolan Richardson assistant Mike Anderson.

"I don't really think we lost - our guys just ran out of time," Anderson said. "You wish a game like that could continue on."

Pelphrey paid homage to Anderson, who got a standing ovation when he was introduced.

"I have tremendous respect for Missouri and Coach Anderson," Pelphrey said. "We all know the service he provided to this place. For us to be able to battle and get this win, we feel, very,very fortunate. The game could have gone either way."

Keon Lawrence dropped in 17, Matt Lawrence 12 and DeMarre Caroll 11 for the Tigers, who forced 23 turnovers but coughed up the ball 21 times of their own in their first true road game of the season.

"We tried to play this game like it was a home game," Hannah said. "We tried to play with the same intensity, like we were going to get the crowd into it, but we had to remember we were playing on the road."

It was a far different game from last season in Columbia when Anderson's first Missouri team drubbed Stan Heath's last Arkansas one 86-64.

"We knew when they came in here that Coach Anderson would do a good job of making his team play," Weems said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game and we were prepared for it.

"We were waiting on this game all year," Weems added. "It was all we were talking about. Now we've got the win and the game is over with. We've got to focus on the game Saturday."

Thomas - in clearly the best effort of his senior season - added 8 rebounds and Townes and Weems each had 6.

"There was so much heaped on Charles," Pelphrey said. "He did a great job of attacking and made big shots. He has a real warrior-type attitude."

Weems also had 4 assists to help offset his 8 turnovers, six of which happened early in the game while Beverley had six turnovers of his own.

"I loved the pace with the exception of the turnovers," Pelphrey said.

Arkansas used a 12-0 run midway through the second half to go from a 68-63 deficit to a 75-68 lead on Beverley's layup with 10:11 remaining in the game.

But Missouri rallied and when Keon Lawrence converted an old-fashioned 3-point play the Tigers took a 88-87 advantage with 2:22 left.

Beverley then buried a 3-pointer from the deep left corner to put his team back up 90-88 at the 1:43 mark and Carroll cut it to one with a free throw with just over a minute left.

Missouri then missed three shots with a chance to take the lead, but Thomas canned two free throws with 26.2 second to send Arkansas ahead 92-89.

Darryl Butterfield than got a lay-up with 17.9 seconds to cut it to 92-91 and set up the final theatrics.

It was a highly entertaining game with score tied 9 times and the lead changing hands 11 times in the first half alone.

"Our guys stuck together and handle the adversity that Missouri presented," Pelphrey said. Arkansas took a 51-50 lead to the break when Townes hit a free throw with :01 left in the first half.

The Tigers had led by as much as 8 – that coming at 21-13 as they reeled off a 15-3 haymaker on the Razorbacks.

But Arkansas came back with its own roundhouse punch and took a 31-26 advantage when Townes cashed in a free throw at the 7:41 mark.

Hannah scored 17 of his 19 first-half points after that, but the Razorbacks used balance to offset that.

Keon Lawrence and Weems both traded lay-ups to tie it 50-50 before Townes grabbed a rebound and somehow got a foul called on Missouri.

He missed the first shot, but netted the second for the 51-50 lead.

"Obviously we wanted to beat them better than they beat us last year, but a win is a win," Thomas said. "I credit the six seniors for stepping up."

Photos by Marc Henning

Charles Thomas puts in two of his team-high 21 points on Wednesday night as DeMarre Carroll defends.

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey reacts to a play in Wednesday's win over Missouri.

Patrick Beverley takes it to the rack.

Darian Townes gets one of his six rebounds.

Stefan Welsh gets to the basket between two Missouri defenders.

Welsh and Sonny Weems force Jason Horton into one of Missouri's 21 turnovers as Missouri coach and former Arkansas assistant Mike Anderson looks on.

An intense Charles Thomas reacts after the win.

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