FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Behind a career-high 23 points by senior Coty Clarke (@CTC_4) and 20 points from sophomore Michael Qualls (@Mr_WalkOnAir), the Arkansas men's basketball team picked up its fifth straight win on Saturday with an 87-75 SEC victory over Georgia in front of a crowd of 18,227 at Bud Walton Arena.
The duo ignited a critical 16-2 Arkansas run to close the first half that turned a seven-point deficit, 28-35, with 5:24 to go into a 44-37 lead at the break. Clarke and Qualls combined to score 11 points during the decisive run, highlighted by an alley-oop from Clarke to Qualls for his 50th career dunk.
The Arkansas lead grew to as large as 15, 60-45, but Georgia fought back to cut it to a 65-60 game with 4:43 left. On the next two Arkansas possessions, senior Mardracus Wade (@WadeNoDwyane) got into the lane for two and junior Rashad Madden (@RKMadden00) knocked down a three from the hog snout on center court to quickly balloon the lead back to double figures, at 70-60.
Clarke and Qualls combined to score Arkansas' final nine points in the last 46 seconds en route to their combined 43 points, which equals the most by a Razorback duo this season. It also marked the first time in the last 44 games that a pair of Arkansas players has scored 20 points in the same contest, as 11 of Clarke's 23 came at the free throw line while Qualls' third 20-point game of the season saw him go 7-of-9 from the field.
With wins in seven of its last eight games, Arkansas improves to 20-9 overall and 9-7 in the SEC to stay in a tie for fourth place with Tennessee (18-11, 9-7). Ranked No. 35 in the ESPN BPI entering today, the Razorbacks' 20-win season is their first since the 2007-08 campaign, while it's now within a game of Georgia (16-12, 10-6) for third place in the SEC.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Over the final 5:02 of the first half, Arkansas unleashed a game-changing 16-2 run that saw Clarke and Qualls combine for 11 of their 43 points. Qualls threw done an alley-oop from Clarke and returned the favor to the senior, who laid it in plus the foul. Georgia managed to come away with points on one of its final eight possession in the half, going 1-of-7 from the field with two turnovers.
Key(s) To The Game
One game removed from committing a season-high 20 turnovers in the win at Kentucky, Arkansas gave the ball away just eight times while forcing Georgia into 16 miscues. The Razorbacks rank sixth in the nation in turnover margin (+5.6) and have won the turnover battle by eight or more seven times this season.
Georgia entered the game with an 8-1 record when holding teams under 60 points, but slipped to 3-11 when giving up 70 or more. Arkansas' 87 points came on a 48 percent (27-56) night from the field and 26-of-36 at the free throw line, as it was the second-most points surrendered by the Bulldogs this season.
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
➢ Arkansas' five-game SEC win streak is its first since 2010.
➢ Won seven of its last eight games, the best eight-game span since 2010.
➢ Arkansas clinched a first round bye in the SEC Tournament.
➢ The 20-win season is the first since 2007-08 and the 29th in program history.
➢ Head Coach Mike Anderson now has eight 20-win seasons and has done it in his third season with
all three programs he's led.
➢ The win clinched the first back-to-back .500 seasons or better in the SEC since the 1997-98 and
➢ Scored 80+ points 14 times this season, including 11 of 17 home games.
➢ Arkansas is 18-2 when leading at the half.
➢ Arkansas is just the fourth team in SEC play to shoot more free throws than Georgia. The Bulldogs
have lost all four games.
➢ Clarke had 22 points in 20 minutes over the overtime period at Kentucky and the first half vs.
➢ Clarke has 30 points in his last 33 minutes played.
➢ Clarke has reached double figures in six of the last seven games.
➢ Clarke is 17-of-19 at the free throw line the last two games.
➢ Qualls has reached double figures in seven straight, a career SEC-best.
➢ Qualls has two 20-point games in the last four contests.
➢ Qualls came away with three steals for the second straight game.
➢ Redshirt junior Alandise Harris came off the bench for eight points to lead a 28-18 edge in points
from the pine.
➢ Harris has scored at least eight points off the bench in six of the last eight games.
➢ Freshman Bobby Portis grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, the ninth time he's led the way in
➢ Senior Fred Gulley made his 27th start of the year at point guard and didn't commit a turnover for
the 18 time this this season.
Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
"Our bench really gave us a lift in the first half when we cooled off after the fast start. That's been the theme to our run. We are playing team basketball and it's made a difference because now we are playing all-out for 40 minutes. Coty and Mike were terrific on the offensive end tonight, but I thought as a team we played much better defensively the last 30 minutes of the game."
➢ Committed single-digit turnovers for the fifth time this season.
➢ Has now won the turnover battle in 27 of 29 games.
➢ Led by a combined 22 from Clarke and Qualls, the Razorbacks have 52 steals during the five-game
➢ Scored 19 points off turnovers and surpassed 600 for the season.
➢ Won the turnover battle by eight or more miscues seven times.
➢ Marked the 80th time in 93 games under Anderson that Arkansas has won the turnover battle.
@RazorbackMBB Postgame Tweetables (140 Characters Or Less)
➢ Thank You Razorback fans! The second sellout in the last three games results in the fifth straight
win for @RazorbackMBB #WPS
➢ .@RazorbackMBB hits the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2007-08. HOGS with wins in 7 of
the last 8 & tied for 4th in the @SEC standings
➢ Only 1 more chance to see @RazorbackMBB at Bud Walton Arena! Get your tickets now for
Wednesday's game vs. Ole Miss > http://tinyurl.com/ozlolgo
Social Media Recap aka the #Fastest140Characters
Did you get in on the in-game conversation through Twitter at @RazorbackMBB during today's win over Georgia in front of a sellout crowd at Bud Walton Arena? Checkout the social media recap aka #TheFastest140Characters from the team's fifth straight win and join in next time by mentioning @RazorbackMBB or utilizing the hashtag #Fastest40. Join the 20,500+ by following @RazorbackMBB on Twitter and don't forget about Facebook (/RazorbackMBB) and Instagram (@RazorbackMBB).
Check out the #Fastest140Characters to see if you made this game's edition!
@RazorbackMBB closes out its regular season home schedule on Wednesday, March 5, against Ole Miss (17-12, 8-8). Gametime is slated for 7 p.m. with a Senior Day presentation prior to tip, as Arkansas will honor the careers of Clarke, Gulley, Kikko Haydar (@AkaKikko), Rickey Scott Jr. (@RickeyScottJr) and Wade.
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