Arkansas went on an 18-1 run in the midst of a five minute Ole Miss shooting drought in the second half to turn a 1-point game into a 71-53 rout before winning 75-64 Tuesday night in Oxford.
From the 8-minute mark until a 3-pointer by Ole Miss' Breein Tyree with 3 minutes left, the only Rebel score during the stretch came on a free throw by Markel Crawford. Arkansas (18-8, 7-6 SEC) coasted the final 2:45 as the Rebels (11-15, 4-9 SEC) closed things out with an 11-4 finish, but by then the game was pretty much in the books.
Ole Miss came out hot in both halves but faded each time. They jumped out to an early 8-2 lead and had control until Arkansas took a 19-18 lead with 7:01 left in the first half. After Ole Miss tied it back up at 19-19, Arkansas finished off the half with a 15-4 run to go up 34-23 at the break.
Likewise, after a Daniel Gafford bucket to put Arkansas up 36-23 right out of halftime, Ole Miss scored the next 11 points to make it a 37-36 game. They never overtook Arkansas and even made it a 1-point game at 53-52 with 8 minutes remaining. But then Arkansas completely took over the game.
Gafford built on a big game last time out (16 points, 9 rebounds, 7 blocks in the win over Vanderbilt) to lead the Hogs with 19 points and 6 rebounds despite missing 6 minutes and 24 seconds in the first half due to a pair of early fouls. It was Gafford’s highest point total since going for 25 in the third game of the season in an 83-75 win over Fresno State nearly three months ago.
Fellow true freshman Darious Hall finished by setting or tying career highs with 14 points, 11 rebounds (including 5 offensive) and 3 assists. He also had a season high with three made 3-point buckets on just four attempts. Had he done better than 1 of 7 at the free throw line, it would have been a great game.
It was one of the few times Arkansas has pulled off a win without both Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon going for 20-plus points. Barford had 13 and was just 5 of 14 shooting, and Macon had his lowest scoring output of the season with just 4 points on 1 of 6 shooting. He got involved in other ways with 6 assists. Macon had scored at least 20 points in seven straight games, a run only previously matched by Corliss Williamson at Arkansas in 1994 (through eight games).
Arkansas was 16 of 62 from the field (41.9 percent), 7 of 23 from 3-point range (30.4 percent) and 16 of 27 from the free throw line (59.3 percent). Normally that’s a recipe for a road loss, but Ole Miss struggled all night. The Rebels were 18 of 62 from the floor (29 percent), 8 of 25 from 3-point range (32 percent) and 20 of 31 from the line 64.5 percent). Aside from a 0.2 percent improvement at the line, their numbers were all better in the second half as they shot just 17.2 percent from the floor in the first half with only five made field goals.
After coming out of the first half up 34-23 on a 15-4 run, Gafford scored the first bucket of the half to make it 36-23. But then Ole Miss went on an 11-0 run to cut Arkansas’ lead to 36-34 with 17:24 left in the game.
The Rebels hung around for a while but could never close the gap. Even after a huge 3-pointer by Devontae Shuler to make it a 1-point game, 53-52 with 8 minutes left, Arkansas answered with back-to-back 3-pointers from Hall and Anton Beard and proceeded to go on an 11-0 run to make it 64-52 with 5:45 to play.
While Arkansas was going up 12 points, 64-52, Ole Miss went on a 2-mintue and 51-second scoreless drought. When Arkansas went up 18, 71-53 with 3 minutes left, Ole Miss had not scored from the field in exactly 5 minutes with the lone point coming on a free throw. The Rebels closed the game out with an 11-4 run to make it 75-54, but it was already decided by then.
The Rebels led 13-10 at the second media timeout with 11:34 to play in the first half. The Razorbacks took their first lead of the game, 19-17, on a pair of Barford free throws with 7:01 remaining in the half.
After Ole Miss tied it back up at 19-19 with 5:42 to play, Arkansas finished off the first half on a 15-4 run to take a 34-23 lead into halftime. Arkansas has now won 35-straight games when leading at halftime.
It was not a great first half for the Hogs, an 11 of 32 shooting effort (34.4 percent) with a 4 of 10 showing from downtown (28.6 percent) and an 8 of 12 showing from the free throw line (66.7 percent). But Ole Miss was way worse. The Rebels were just 5 of 29 from the floor (17.2 percent), 2 of 12 from 3-point range (16.7 percent) and 11 of 17 from the line (64.7 percent).
Up next, the Razorbacks play host to No. 21 Texas A&M (17-9, 6-7 SEC) on Saturday at 3 p.m. That game will be televised by ESPN. The Aggies had won four in-a-row before a four-point road loss at Missouri Tuesday night.