But the Razorbacks found out firsthand Wednesday night just how much another freshman — Ole Miss freshman Terrico White — has meant to the Rebels.
White scored a career-high 29 points to lead Ole Miss to a 98-91 overtime win in Bud Walton Arena. He scored 25 in the second half and overtime, helping the Rebels erase as much as a 12-point deficit on the road.
"He is the freshman of the year in this league," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said after the game. "He is a tremendous player. ... Quite arguably he should get votes for player of the year in this league because without him we can't win a game."
White's play was even more valuable against the Razorbacks because of the unexpected absence of backcourt mate David Huertas. The Rebels' leading scorer (18.5 points a game) sat on the bench throughout the night because of a foot injury, placing more responsibility on White's broad shoulders.
He struggled with the added responsibility in the first half, getting only four points on 2 of 6 shooting. But Kennedy said the Rebels challenged their leader, who was thrust into the role because of three season-ending injuries to the backcourt this season, at the break.
"He's an outstanding player," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "He's got great size and he got loose on pick and rolls. A lot of those weren't easy shots. ... He's just got the ability to make some big-time shots."
But White's efforts weren't alone. The Rebels also got career nights from guards Zach Graham (20 points) and Will Bogan (16). Bogan's performance was particularly surprising. He averaged two points a game before Wednesday, leading Kennedy to call the performance Bogan's "best night as a Rebel."
"I don't think we were worried (without Huertas)," Bogan said. "We all knew everyone individually had to step it up a little bit to fill for his absence."
Arkansas played most of the game without forward Jason Henry, but Pelphrey indicated that the freshman's absence had nothing to do with his knee.
Instead, Pelphrey said he didn't use Henry much because he had failed to perform in practice the past few days. Henry also struggled in his brief stint in the first half, so Pelphrey didn't use him after the break.
"I don't think he's injured," Pelphrey said. "He didn't practice very well the last two days.
Henry finished with one point, one assist and one block in five minutes Wednesday. His absence left the Razorbacks leaning on six players in the second half.
On and Off Night
Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke struggled offensively the last time the Razorbacks played Ole Miss. He went scoreless after attempting just two shots.
But Clarke was much more productive against the Rebels on Wednesday night. At least, in the first half.
The freshman scored 19 points and went 6-for-13 from the field. Clarke had 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting in the first half, then went 1-for-7 with five points in the second half and in overtime.
"The team did a good job of getting me the ball," said Clarke, who was 5-of-12 from 3-point range. "But in the second half I just wasn't able to hit the three."
Clarke did extend an impressive shooting streak. He has hit four or more 3-pointers in five straight games. He also has made four or more in seven of the past eight.
Fortson notched a double-double in an unexpected way Wednesday night. The guard scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds. His previous career-high for rebounds was 10. ... Forward Michael Washington was limited to six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. He finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds in 29 minutes Wednesday. ... The 98 points Arkansas surrendered was a season high. Oklahoma held the previous mark, scoring 88 in its loss on Dec. 30.
White, Guards Lead Rebels to Win
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