Going into the game, the Tigers were in an odd midseason spot. They took three of their last four games and were on the edge of breaking into the middle tier of the SEC. They showed that they have the talent, but were still looking for winning consistency.
They didn’t find that consistency at Arkansas. Despite a solid first half performance, the game slipped out of Missouri’s control. Each time the Tigers came close taking the lead, they'd fall apart again or someone would make a timely 3, and Missouri dropped one against Arkansas, losing 68-78.
The game got off to a fast start with Kobe Brown taking 7 of Missouri’s first 11 points. Xavier Pinson took command as point guard, evenly distributing the ball and playing unselfishly. The Tigers jumped ahead with an 8-0 run but were met with resistance by the likes of a 10-0 Arkansas run. Both teams found ways to get hot, but would then let it go.
With 1:22 left in the first half, Isaiah Joe knocked down a catch and shoot three to cap off another 10-0 Arkansas run and put the Razorbacks in the lead for the first time. Dru Smith would respond with a layup to even the score. The last thirty seconds of the half were riddled with fouls and turnovers that were a contrast from the clean offensive play that Missouri displayed throughout the first part.
Xavier Pinson led the Tigers in first half scoring with 8 points. Isaiah Joe and Jimmy Whitt, Jr. each had 10 for the Razorbacks.
Entering the second half, the momentum clearly was in favor of Arkansas. The Razorbacks found their largest lead of the night going on a 10-3 run and went up 45-36. Missouri was still looking for their electric moment. The one that sets the tone for the game and puts an exclamation mark on a performance. It never came.
Missouri battled as they went on an 11-3 run to put the Tigers within two points of knotting things up. As Razorback Desi Stills continued to bury threes, the Tigers would get to the line and capitalize every time. Missouri knocked down seven straight free throws to keep the game within striking distance.
With under three minutes to go, Missouri was down by five. Just when they needed it most, it looked like the Tigers had found their exclamation mark. Kobe Brown hit a massive three from deep and brought Missouri back within two. Arkansas immediately seemed to find the clutch factor it needed by splashing back-to-back threes. Missouri, with its final breath of life, needed to stop an Isaiah Joe fast break three point attempt, but couldn’t get it done. The lead Arkansas developed was too large to overcome. Arkansas dribbled out the clock to send Missouri home.
Isaiah Joe, in his first game back from injury, led the Razorbacks with 21 points and came through every time Arkansas needed him to. Missouri couldn’t get it done on the road, shooting just 4-21 from deep and sending Arkansas to the line 20 times.
With just four games left until the SEC tournament, now would be a good a time as ever for Missouri to scrape out a few Ws.