By Matthew Fairburn
Before Missouri’s game against Arkansas on Saturday, all of the talk surrounded former Missouri coach Mike Anderson, who was patrolling the Razorback sideline. During the game, the attention was focused on the rough play between two developing rivals. And in the final minute, the officials stole the spotlight, making a series of controversial calls that contributed to Arkansas’ 73-71 victory over Missouri on Saturday in front of a sold-out Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Tigers stormed out to a 9-0 lead to start the game, but that’s as wide a score margin as the game would have all afternoon. The teams swapped leads several times in the final minutes of the second half.
With Missouri (18-7, 7-5 Southeastern Conference) on top by four with fewer than 30 seconds to play, Arkansas’ (16-9, 7-5) B.J. Young drove to the basket and drew a foul from Keion Bell. Despite traveling on the play, Young finished with a layup and was sent to the line to complete the three-point play.
After Jabari Brown made one of his two free throws to give the Tigers a two-point advantage, Young drew another foul from Bell, who fouled out on the play, completing a three-point play to give the Razorbacks the lead.
And when Missouri had a chance for the last shot to tie the game, Phil Pressey committed his fourth turnover of the game, and another questionable call gave Arkansas the ball on an out of bounds play, and the score went final seconds later.
Pressey and Laurence Bowers, the only players on Missouri’s roster to have played for Anderson, shot a combined 3-19 from the field and turned the ball over a combined nine times on Saturday. Bell again led the Tigers with 25 points but committed the two crucial fouls that proved to be the deciding factor.
In the first meeting between the two teams since Anderson left Missouri to coach Arkansas, the tensions ran high. Each team committed 25 personal fouls.
With the loss, Missouri falls to 18-7, including 1-6 in road game. Arkansas, meanwhile, remains undefeated at home this season and improves to 16-9 on the season.
Missouri returns home on Tuesday to take on No. 7 Florida at 8 p.m.
Supervising editor for this story was Megan Rentschler