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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bud Walton Arena (19,200) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Missouri 14-0, Arkansas 14-1. Away Record: Missouri 1-5, Arkansas 1-6. Neutral Record: Missouri 3-1, Arkansas 0-2. Conference Record: Missouri 7-4, Arkansas 6-5. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 19-18.
GAME NOTES: Both the Missouri Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks attempt to build momentum off of wins from earlier this week, as the two squads meet in an SEC showdown at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Missouri is in the midst of a stellar 18-6 season, but it recently fell from the national ranks after dropping a pair of road games to LSU (73-70) and Texas A&M (70-68) a few weeks back. The Tigers have rebounded recently, improving to 7-4 in the SEC following a win last Saturday over Ole Miss (98-79), and a triumph at Mississippi State on Wednesday (78-36).
Arkansas traveled to Auburn on Wednesday and escaped with its first road win of the season in the 83-75 decision. The Razorbacks will surely be happy to return to Bud Walton Arena for this matchup, as they have gone an astounding 14-1 at home this season, which includes a signature win over then-No. 2 Florida on Feb. 5, 80-69.
Arkansas has won nine of the last 10 matchups against Missouri to take a 19-18 lead in the all-time series.
The Tigers enjoyed a fantastic night shooting the ball on Wednesday, making 53.4 percent of their field goal attempts, but the biggest story in their 42- point victory was the outstanding play of their defense, which held Mississippi State to a lowly 23.9 percent effort from the field, the Bulldogs credited with more turnovers (15) than field goals (11). Keion Bell (24 points) and Jabari Brown (20 points) were great in the backcourt, combining the shoot 17-of-27 from the field. Laurence Bowers added 11 points, Phil Pressey handed out eight assists, and Alex Oriakhi recorded 10 rebounds and three blocks. On the season, Missouri boasts the second-best scoring offense in the SEC (76.7 ppg), and it has an incredible six players averaging double figures. Brown missed the first nine games of the season but has scored 15.1 ppg in the 15 games since to lead the team. Bowers (14.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg) and Oriakhi (10.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.6 rpg) are one of the most feared forward duos in the conference, while Pressey scores 12.2 ppg and dishes out an SEC-best 7.0 apg. Rounding out the balanced attack is Bell (11.1 ppg) and Earnest Ross (10.3 ppg).
After trailing at the half against Auburn earlier in the week, Arkansas took control after intermission by improving its field goal percentage from .379 in the opening period to .552 in the second half. BJ Young led all scorers with 25 points in the triumph, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the foul line. Marshawn Powell was stellar down low with his 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while Mardracus Wade and Rickey Scott netted 11 points apiece. The Razorbacks are right on Missouri's heels in the scoring ranks, putting up 76.2 ppg on 44.8 percent field goal shooting, although its 3-point field goal percentage (.311) ranks 12th in the league. Young is one of the most efficient guards in the conference, scoring 16.5 ppg on 46.2 percent field goal shooting while tallying more than twice as many assists (89) as turnovers (42). Powell is the Hogs' answer in the low post with 14.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and more than a block and a steal per game. While no one else averages in double figures, nine others pour in between 3.3 and 6.8 ppg.
With all six of its top scorers healthy at the same time, Missouri is a very dangerous team, but its struggles away from home have been well-documented (1-5). Pair that with Arkansas' incredible home court advantage and the Hogs get the nod.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas 83, Missouri 77
02/16 11:04:09 ET
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