Bud Walton has always been a crutch for Arkansas men's basketball here of late and for good reason.
Based on the teams SEC road struggles in the Mike Anderson era, grabbing a home win over the likes of Auburn yesterday... was just what the doctor ordered.
"We really needed to win...just for us personally and for our season." says Rashad Madden
It wasn't a "must-win" for Arkansas, but defeating Auburn on Sunday, was a major shot of confidence for a team coming off back-to-back road losses..in where they failed to close out both georiga & tennessee, with the lead late in the game.
"I think the biggest thing that happen from this win was it showed that we learned from the games we've been playing and we've finished well." says Fred Gulley III
"The thing I was most proud of our guys....they did a good job of finishing. We haven't finished well in many games, but I thought we were really assertive and aggressive and making the right plays at the right time." says Mike Anderson
And the right time...was just in time for Bobby Portis.
The Mcdonalds All-American poured in 18 points...14 coming in the 1st half.
He also grabbing 9-rebounds.
This has been a far cry from his lack of aggressivness he showed in the first five conference games.
"For us to be successful, I need to go on the block and go to work on the block, instead of shooting long twos." says Bobby Portis
"That's been a point of emphasis with him is that you know that you have size...he has agility, he has good footwork. Now he has to continue to attack the basket." says Anderson
Michael Qualls isn't a stranger to attacking the rim.
Despite a five point outing against the Tigers...Qualls continues to get encouragment on breaking out of his horrific slump in SEC play.
"My talk with Mike was...'Hey, go do something to get yourself going.' Sometimes it may be a hustle play , a deflection, a rebound, a blocked shot." says Anderson
"We need Mike to be a great player like he's been playing all year...so we need that out of him every night." says Madden
Now with their 2nd conference victory...the Hogs will look to also take a winning assurance into tuesday's game against Missouri.
"We've been a confident team all year....even though we've taken some bumps and bruises along the way, every game has been a good game." says Gulley
"There's some continuity that's building with this basketball team. We've just gotta try and keep those cylinders all clicking at the same time." says Anderson