If the Hogs were looking to make a bold statement to the NCAA Tournament selection committee, the message was sent loud and clear. Now, Razorback Nation can only hope that it was received.
The Arkansas Razorbacks (21-9, 10-7 Southeastern Conference) sent their seniors out in style on Senior Night in their most impressive game of the season. They crushed the Ole Miss Rebels by a score of 110-80 in front of 15,962 fans at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Defense was once again a huge factor for the Hogs in their home finale. They held Ole Miss to 37% shooting from the field and forced 18 turnovers on the night. Those turnovers led to tons of easy baskets for the Hogs as they led by as many as 43 points in the second half of the ballgame.
The Hogs were able to match their defensive effort with great play on the offensive end of the court as well. They finished the game with 37 field goals and 27 assists against the Rebels (17-13, 8-9). Razorback head coach Mike Anderson knows his team is at their best when they are sharing the basketball, so that assist total did not go unnoticed.
“That means we had great ball movement, and guys played unselfishly,” Razorback head coach Mike Anderson said.
The 110 points the Razorbacks scored against the Rebels were the 4th most in school history in an SEC game. It tied for the most overall in an SEC game in the last 15 seasons.
The Hogs shot great overall but were most impressive from beyond the arc. They knocked down 17 3-pointers and shot 57% from long range. Sophomore Anthlon Bell led the way making seven of those 3-point field goals and scoring a career-high 23 points in only 12 minutes of play off the bench.
“He had it going and we knew it,” Anderson said. “It just seemed like if he had thrown it in backwards, it was going in.”
The Hogs, currently on a six-game winning streak, have won eight of their last nine games. They hope their play against Ole Miss will travel on the road with them to Tuscaloosa where they will play the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-18, 6-11 SEC) on Saturday. Coach Anderson says that he would be a “super-rich man” if he could take that performance against Ole Miss and “bottle that up.”
If he and the Hogs can figure out a way, the selection committee and the rest of the nation will be forced to take notice.