FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With winter conditions outside, the Arkansas men’s basketball team used some hot three-point shooting inside Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon to defeat ACC foe Clemson, 74-68, to extend its home win streak to 19 games.
On the strength of a career-high four three-pointers by junior Rashad Madden, the Razorbacks knocked down double figure threes (10) for the second time this season to improve to 6-2 on the season, while Clemson now stands at 7-2. The Tigers are just the second ACC team to ever play at Bud Walton Arena, while the 19-game home win streak is tied for fifth-longest in the nation.
“I want to congratulate our guys for gutting it out against a very defensive-minded team in Clemson,” said head coach Mike Anderson. “Defensively, they want to slow the game down and they attacked the glass on us. It was a good win for us against a good team. It was a defensive battle and we had enough in the tank to finish it out.”
Threes were the difference in the game, as Arkansas hit 10-of-21 from beyond the arc en route to scoring 74 points, the most by any team against Clemson, who entered as the nation’s top scoring defense (51.0). Sophomore Michael Qualls led three double figure scorers with 17 points and six rebounds, while Madden was close behind with 14 points. Freshman Bobby Portis reached double-digits for the fourth consecutive game with 13 points.
Clemson was led by junior K.J. McDaniels who set career-highs with 27 points and 11 rebounds, including six offensive. McDaniels was a big part of the Tigers’ 45-30 edge on the glass that was highlighted by 19 offensive rebounds, but only resulted in 14 second chance points.
Three-pointers were the theme for the Razorbacks in the first half, as back-to-back triples from Qualls jumped started a 13-2 run midway through the period that gave the home team a 23-15 edge with 9:29 to play. Sophomore Anthlon Bell capped the run with the 50th three of his career, as the 23 points at that point were more than three of Clemson’s eight opponents had scored in the entire first half.
Clemson bounced right back, responding with a 11-1 run of its own to regain the lead, 26-24, at the 7:06 mark, but it was short-lived as the Razorbacks continued to stay hot from beyond the arc.
Arkansas’ final five field goals of the half came from three-point land, as Madden and redshirt junior Alandise Harris combined to hit four over the final 4:50, including one from Harris at the top of the key with four seconds left, to give Arkansas a 40-32 edge at the half. The 40 points is the most given up by Clemson in a half this season, while the Razorbacks had scored at least 40 points in 10 of 15 halves through that point.
The second half started just the like the first ended, as Madden struck again with back-to-back threes to push Arkansas’ lead to 46-32 and forced Clemson head coach Brad Brownell to call timeout just 18:29 into the period.
Arkansas’ lead reached as high as 16, 54-38, with 14:09 to go, but a late 11-2 Clemson run cut it to a two-possession game.
Following a steal by Clemson just over midcourt with under three minutes left, Harris raced back on defense and pinned Damarcus Harrison’s layup that would have cut it to a three-point game.
The momentum from Harris’s block led to much-needed consecutive stops as the Razorbacks made seven of their final 10 at the free throw line to seal the win.
Harris finished with eight points, a game-high seven rebounds and two huge blocks. Qualls’ 17 points highlighted a 35-16 advantage for the Arkansas bench, which out-scored its opposition for the seventh time this season.
Arkansas will continue its four-game homestand at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday, Dec. 12, when it hosts Savannah State. Tip is slated for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast by Razorback Sports Network.
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