FAYETTEVILLE - A total of five University of Arkansas players finished in double-digits as the Razorback men's basketball team handled the Texas A&M Aggies, 73-62, at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon. With the win the Razorbacks close the regular season with a 17-1 record at "The Basketball Palace of Mid-America," tying the school record of 17 wins at home set last season and becoming the first Arkansas team since 1998 to finish the year undefeated in Southeastern Conference play (9-0).
"It's a step in the right direction," head coach Mike Anderson said. "We have to take care of games at home. That's how you compete for championships. You can see we have more guys now stepping up and playing quality minutes, and it's good to see that."
Sophomore Mardracus Wade (14), junior Coty Clarke (13), sophomore Rashad Madden (11), freshman Anthlon Bell (10) and junior Marshawn Powell (10) all finished the day in double digits helping Arkansas to the victory over the Aggies. The Razorbacks out-rebounded the Texas A&M, 31-24, and forced 23 Aggie turnovers for their second-highest turnover total on the season. The Razorback bench also stepped up big, contributing to over half of Arkansas 73 points with 39.
"It was a game that was our tempo for a while," Anderson said. "They cut our lead, but I can't say enough about how our guys stepped up defensively and made plays. It was a good performance by our team."
The Razorbacks got things started quickly with Wade draining a three-pointer for the first points of the game. Wade would step up in a big way again, sinking another three to put the Razorbacks up 8-4 for a little cushion. On the ensuing play it was Qualls who laid down a crowd-electrifying dunk off a pass from Wade to take a 10-4 lead. Arkansas would rack up as much as an 18-point lead over the Aggies, but Texas A&M had some fight left in them, going on an 8-0 run with 2:35 remaining in the first as Arkansas experienced some cold shooting. The Aggies would close the gap to seven at the half, 33-26.
The Arkansas defense forced 12 turnovers that resulted in 10 Razorback points. Arkansas also picked up seven steals and three blocks in the opening 20 minutes. The Razorback bench had a big first half accounting for 19 of Arkansas' 33 points. The bench was led by Bell who went 3-for-4 from the field for eight points. Clarke ended the first with a team-high five boards.
The Aggies continued to chip into the Razorback lead, coming within four (41-37) after a break-away dunk. Arkansas would then kick things into high gear putting together a 10-0 run in just 2:08 to put the score at 53-39 with 10:18 remaining. Arkansas would keep the Aggies at bay as they stayed up for good from that point, only allowing Texas A&M to come within six points and totaling as much as a 16-point lead during the final 10 minutes of play. Arkansas closed out the game up 73-62.
Arkansas hits the road for the SEC Tournament where they will play on Thursday, Mar. 14th. Official match ups and game times for the Tournament will be announced late Saturday after all league games have been completed.
For more information regarding Razorback men's basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.