Arkansas Basketball: Qualls’ put back dunk lifts the Razorbacks over No. 13 Kentucky

Arkansas Basketball

Michael Qualls game winning dunk (Photo Credit: Beth Hall/USA Today)

Michael Qualls threw down a thunderous two-handed put back dunk with .2 seconds left in overtime to lift Arkansas over No. 13 Kentucky, 87-85 on Tuesday night.

The Razorbacks were out-rebounded 50-32 on the night but rebound number 32 was the most important rebound of the game.

Qualls, who finished with 18 points, flew down the baseline and grabbed Rashad Madden’s missed three and threw it down to make all 18, 386 people in Bud Walton Arena go absolutely crazy.

Madden also finished with 18 points, while Alandise Harris added 12. Freshman Bobby Portis recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Arkansas thought they had the game won in regulation as they took a 74-71 lead with 9.5 seconds left on a three-point play by Alandise Harris (who redeemed himself from the missed free throw to win the Florida game Saturday).

However, Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison hit a wide-open three pointer in front of the Wildcat’s bench with 1.2 seconds left.

In overtime, a three by Kentucky’s James Young with 10.2 seconds left the game tied at 85 and it appeared the game was heading to a second overtime.

Arkansas didn’t have any timeouts remaining following Young’s shot. Madden took the ball up the court and tried to win the game with a three from the right side but missed and the ball bounced right into the hands of Qualls, while Kentucky stood and watched him throw it down for the win.

It was a very smart play for Qualls. Everyone, including Arkansas and Kentucky players thought the game was over with the missed three. No one boxed out. Everyone stood and watched. Qualls was the only player to crash the boards and well, it turned out great for him.

Madden completely missed the dunk as he turned to half court after his missed shot, thinking the game was going into a second overtime.

The Hogs were desperate for this win after losing two straight games and falling to 0-2 in conference, including a heartbreaking overtime defeat to No. 10 Florida on Saturday.

Arkansas won this game because they did many things right, including things they didn’t do against Florida on Saturday (mentioned in Takeaways from Florida Game).

  • Arkansas closed the game out by hitting big shots and free throws down the stretch.
  • Madden was the leader of the team tonight, not only in scoring but also vocally.
  • Qualls scored 18 points and Portis had a double-double.
  • Arkansas was 70 percent (29-41) from the free throw line.
  • They committed only six turnovers, while forcing 17 and scoring 24 points off turnovers.

Now, the main problem. The next two games for Arkansas are on the road at Georgia and Tennessee. They need their momentum from this game to carry over to their game at Georgia.

Arkansas must win at the very least, one of these road games. They are both very winnable for the Hogs, who have shown that they can compete with anyone at home but they need to do the same on the road.

If Arkansas beats Georgia and/or Tennessee they will start to get the credit they deserve.