Following an impressive upset win over then-ranked #15 Alabama, Missouri travelled to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas. The Razorbacks came out of the gates in the SEC play slow, having lost their first three games, as well as 5 of their last 6 overall. Both teams were in search of a victory that would propel them up the standings and create some momentum.
For as well as Mizzou had played offensively against Alabama, they did the opposite against the Razorbacks early on. They started out with four turnovers and shot 16.3% in the first six minutes of the game. That, combined with Arkansas’ success on the glass and inability to miss a shot, led to the Tigers facing a 15-point deficit at the under sixteen timeout.
Trevon Brazile’s early 3-pointer remained Missouri’s only points as they went into the under twelve timeout. It had been 7+ minutes of scoreless basketball for the Tigers, and the lead extended to 24-3.
In addition to JD Notae, who had an early nine, Chris Lykes took over for a period of time in the half. The Razorback bench player and former Miami Hurricane gave Anton Brookshire fits on both ends of the floor, and the Arkansas lead continued to grow.
More of the same ensued as the half wore on. Cuonzo Martin attempted to bring in Jordan Wilmore and Sean Durugordon to see if they could change things up, but no dice. The score line read 49-15 in favor of Arkansas at the half.
After so many things went right on Saturday, everything disappeared on the road. 11 first half turnovers were the most glaring issue, but a lack of quality shots led to an abysmal 12% shooting. On the flip side, Notae (14 points) and co. were getting anything they wanted in transition and the half court, and it was almost surprising when a shot did not go in.
“Notae did a good job of pressuring Boogie Coleman coming up the floor,” Cuonzo Martin said. “He dictated the tempo with that, and we weren’t able to push the ball up the floor.”
On top of all of that, the Razorbacks dominated the glass (22-16 in their favor) and were winning virtually every loose ball.
Trevon Brazile was the lone highlight of the first half. He had 3 points, 4 rebounds, and an emphatic chase down block towards the end of the half.
Turnovers continued to be a trend in the second half, and Gordon, Brown, and Pickett got into foul trouble as well. The Arkansas lead bordered on 40 early in the second period.
Notae and Trey Wade stole the show for Arkansas, but they did not have to do all that much in the second half. Missouri continued to look stagnant on the offensive side of the floor, and Arkansas capitalized with easy run-outs and wide open looks. It just simply looked like Mizzou was not on the same level as the Hogs.
You won’t win many games turning the ball over 23 times and shooting 29.2% from the field, and the leading scorer for Mizzou agreed after the game.
“We can’t make those mistakes, especially on the road,” Javon Pickett, who had 12 points on the night, said.
Kobe Brown also struggled for the first time in weeks, going 3/11 with six points.
This was a night and day difference from the Alabama game, as it was just wire-to-wire domination from an Arkansas team that had been in a rut. The Razorbacks had allowed over 80 points four times in the past six games. They only gave up 43 to the Tigers tonight.
“We just got to come out aggressive,” Pickett explained. “We just gotta play together for the whole game, cause they out-toughed us for the whole game.”
Another major factor was the home crowd. Martin commented on it earlier this week, and Bud Walton Arena did in fact do its part. The fans fed off of their team’s energy and made it really tough for the Tigers to manufacture any extended momentum.
“It’s a tough place to play because of the emotions,” Martin said. “If you mix a talented team with a tough environment then it mixes up your gameplan.”
Mizzou will host Texas A&M (14-2) on Saturday, January 15th at 2:30 CST on the SEC Network. The Aggies have been perhaps the biggest surprise in the conference this season, starting out unbeaten in league play.