Razorbacks cage Tigers; defense comes up big
FAYETTEVILLE - Led by a 24-point performance by junior Marshawn Powell the University of Arkansas basketball team defeated the Missouri Tigers, 73-71, in a game that went down to the final seconds and took heroics by sophomore BJ Young to give Arkansas the victory. The Razorbacks trailed 71-69 with 19 seconds on the clock as Young scored a layup and was fouled on the way up, knocking down the free shot to put Arkansas up for good.
"It was a gut check for our basketball team," head coach Mike Anderson said. "Missouri is a good team. It was an emotional game and a heck of a ball game. Our guys dug down deep at the end. We did a really good job on defense."
Powell nabbed 24 points off 8-of-19 shooting and Young tallied 18 points with five rebounds and five assists. Junior Coty Clarke chipped in 13 points and seven boards. The Arkansas (16-9, 7-5 SEC) defense forced 17 turnovers that resulted in 18 Razorback points.
Missouri (18-7, 7-5 SEC) got off to a swift start against the Razorbacks taking an early 9-0 lead with 15:45 on the clock. Anderson called a 30 second timeout to get the team together and on the next possession Young knocked down a big three-pointer to erupt the sold out Bud Walton Arena crowd. For the remainder of the first Arkansas would flirt with the lead, coming within one-point on several occasions. In the tail end of the first half, Clarke, who was unstoppable from the three in the first going 3-of-3, sunk his third three-pointer of the afternoon to bring Arkansas within one-point of Missouri (28-29) with 2:09 left on the clock. Arkansas would enter the locker room trailing by four, 33-29.
Leading Arkansas in the first was Powell and Clarke, who both totaled nine points. The Razorback defense forced seven turnovers and nabbed two steals to highlight the first half.
The Razorbacks came out strong in the second half and made fast work at the slim four-point lead held by the Tigers. The signature moment came when a steal by Clarke resulted in a crowd-erupting three-pointer by Powell to put Arkansas up 39-37. Powell would score the next five points for the Razorbacks, giving Arkansas a 44-42 lead over the Tigers. The Razorback lead would grow to as many as eight, but the Missouri offense finally started clicking again and tied things up with 4:10 left at 63.
Missouri would take the lead, going up 65-63, however the lead was short lived as Kikko Haydar snagged a steal with Powell connecting on a layup to tie things back up. The Razorbacks and Tigers battled it out as the game came down to the final seconds when Young laid down back-to-back layups and was fouled on the way to the rim. Young scored six consecutive points to bring Arkansas back in the lead, 72-71, with 19 seconds on the clock. Young would score the final point off a free throw to give Arkansas the 73-71 lead and Missouri was forced to attempt a long three that ended up in an air ball that secured the win for Arkansas.
"BJ stepped up and showcased what he can do," Anderson said. "He wanted to attack the basket at the end. BJ did a good job of making shots and hitting big free throws. That's what he does - he makes shots for us."
Arkansas returns to Bud Walton Arena on Thursday, Feb. 21, against the Georgia Bulldogs at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
For more information regarding Razorback men's basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.