Missouri rallies to down No. 25 Arkansas 79-76

Arkansas’ Makhi Mitchell, passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Kobe Brown scored 17 points and hit two free throws with 29 seconds to lift Missouri to a 79-76 win over No. 25 Arkansas on Wednesday night.

DeAndre Gholston added 16 and Sean East II had 12 points for the Tigers (14-4, 3-3 SEC), who avenged a 74-68 loss in Fayetteville on Jan. 4.

Davonte Davis scored 18 points and Ricky Council IV had 13 for Arkansas, which has lost four in a row. Anthony Black added 15 points for the Razorbacks (12-6, 1-5).

Missouri trailed 67-57 with 5 minutes left.

“In the last five minutes, which was crucial, I thought I heard a lot of great voices, great talk and great conversation between our players,” Missouri first-year coach Dennis Gates said. “They said, ‘don’t panic, don’t blink.’

It was a five-minute game.”

Missouri closed the contest on a 22-9 run.

Brown hit a 3-pointer to tie the game 67-all. East sank two foul shots and Brown chipped in with a fall-away jumper to knot the game again 71-71.

Brown then hit the two go-ahead foul shots.

East added two more free throws with 14 ticks on the clock.

“Having this game and snapping a losing streak in front of our home crowd, especially against a rival like Arkansas – it’s big for us,” Brown said.

Added Gholston, “The biggest thing in college basketball right now is the way you respond to things. The way we responded was to keep going, keep fighting.”

The Razorbacks used a 16-4 run early in the second half to go in front. Black and Jordan Walsh punctuated the blitz with back-to-back slams. Walsh had 12 points before fouling out.

Council added a stick-back to push the advantage to 53-47. Davis’ 3-pointer pumped the lead to 65-55 with 5:29 left.

“I thought our competitive nature was at a high level,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “We had critical turnovers around the rim and on the baseline.”

The Tigers missed their first seven shots and got their first points on a jumper by Brown with 15:04 left in the half.

Arkansas took a 35-34 lead into the break on a 3-pointer by Davis with nine seconds left in the half.

Whistle While You Work

The contest featured 56 fouls and 66 free throws attempts between the two teams. The game took 2 hours, 36 minutes to complete.

Late Scratches

Missouri forward Noah Carter and center Mabor Majak were held out of the contest due to health and safety precautions. They were scratched just over an hour before tipoff.

Magic Number

Missouri had won its last 17 games when scoring at least 70 points including a 13-0 mark this season.

Mascot Loss

Tusk V, the official live mascot of the Razorbacks, died Sunday due to natural causes at age 4. The Russian Boar was prevalent at all of the football games last fall.

Big Picture

Arkansas: The Razorbacks are not yet in panic mode even though they have dropped five of their first six SEC games. They got off to an 0-3 start last season in conference play and lost four of their first six in 2020-21. They managed to reach the Elite Eight each time.

Missouri: The Tigers have a chance to record a signature win when they face No. 4 Alabama at home on Saturday. They are 3-0 in league play at home. Brown has developed into a go-to guy with 11 or more points in his last seven games.

Up Next

Arkansas hosts Mississippi on Saturday in the first of back-to-back home games.
Missouri hosts No. 4 Alabama on Saturday.