Arkansas picked up their second SEC win of the season Saturday night with a win over Auburn in Bud Walton Arena.
After two straight road losses, the Razorbacks picked up a much-needed win as they sailed to a 19-point victory. They are now 13-6 on the season and 2-4 in SEC play.
Rashad Madden led the Hogs with 24 points. Madden was 6 of 10 from the field and 3 for 5 from behind the arc. He also was impressive at the free throw line, where he was 9 of 9. He has been the most consistent player this season and is going to lead this team to some big wins.
Bobby Portis scored 18 points and was one rebound shy of recording another double-double. Portis has been a little shaky so far in SEC play but he came ready to play today. He dominated the post, especially on the offensive side. He was 6 of 9 from the field and took smart shots, something he hasn’t been doing lately.
There were a couple positives to take from this game moving forward. The most important was Anthlon Bell. I think he came back from Maui finally. He was 3 of 5 from behind the arc and looked like the confident shooter we saw at the beginning of the season. Hopefully, he will continue to be confident and keep shooting because he has potential to be one of the best shooters in the SEC.
The other positive takeaway from this game was the emergence of Fred Gulley, no doubt the most improved player on this team. He’s gained a lot of confidence over the past few games and it’s showing. He is a smart player who gets the job done on both ends of the court.
On the negative side, Michael Qualls continued to struggle and finished with 5 points. Four of his points came off two impressive dunks (what else would you expect) but five points isn’t going to cut it. Ever since his game-winning dunk at Kentucky, he hasn’t done anything to help this team. The team needs him and he’s got to get back into rhythm before it’s too late.
Mike Anderson is starting to find that core group of players with Coty Clarke, Portis, Madden and Gulley but that fifth spot is still questionable. Qualls could definitely be that fifth man if he could get out of this slump. If Anderson could get Clarke, Portis, Madden, Gulley and Qualls going together, this team could be scary but only if they can win on the road.
Arkansas did just what fans expected and got a home win over a really bad Auburn team. But, a win is a win and hopefully it gives them some energy going into to Tuesday’s game against Missouri. Tuesday should be very interesting and if it’s anything like last year it will be intense. The Hogs have a tough week coming up with a home game against Missouri and then they go on the road to take on LSU. Should be an interesting week for Arkansas basketball.