GAME NOTES: The Missouri Tigers will try to snap their two-game road losing streak on Tuesday night when they head to Bud Walton Arena to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks in an SEC clash.
Missouri most recently took down South Carolina at home on Saturday afternoon to improve to 3-3 in conference action. The Tigers have slowed their pace in recent weeks and have gone just 2-2 in true road games, but they are still an outstanding 15-4 overall.
Few teams in the nation have a more drastic split between success at home (11-1) and on the road (0-3) as Arkansas. The Razorbacks had been losers of two straight games before returning to Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon to make easy work of Auburn, 86-67, to move to 13-6 overall this season.
The Razorbacks hold a slim 20-19 advantage in the all-time series. The teams split the two-game series a season ago, with each squad winning at home.
The Tigers held a lead as large as 20 over South Carolina over the weekend, and while they saw that advantage dwindle to just six with under two minutes to play, they were able to hold on down the stretch thanks to their 54.2- percent showing from the field and 22-of-33 afternoon at the foul line. Jabari Brown paced the effort with 24 points while also pitching in with six assists and six rebounds. Jordan Clarkson drained 8-of-10 from the free-throw line on his way to 22 points, while Earnest Ross netted 14.
Missouri has displayed impressive balance this season, as it shoots 46.2 percent from the field for 74.8 ppg while allowing just 66.3 ppg on 38.7 percent shooting. It also owns a +6.8 rebounding margin, although its turnover margin (-1.3) comes back to haunt it sometimes. The team is fortunate enough to have the SEC's first and third-ranked scorers in Brown (19.5 ppg) and Clarkson (18.8 ppg), with Brown connecting on 55-of-119 from beyond the arc (.462) and Clarkson dishing out a team-best 3.3 apg. Rounding out a talented scoring trio is Ross, who nets 14.0 ppg, while adding 6.7 rpg as well.
The Razorbacks never trailed in their most recent game, as they claimed an easy 19-point victory over Auburn by outshooting it from the field, 45.9 percent to 36.2 percent, and by forcing 18 turnovers. Rashad Madden led all scorers with 24 points, shooting 3-of-5 from 3-point range and a perfect 9- of-9 from the free-throw line. Bobby Portis was a factor in the paint with 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and Fred Gulley poured in 10 points.
Arkansas has the SEC's top scoring offense, posting 82.9 ppg on 45.9 percent from the field (including 36.1 percent from 3-point range). Its scoring defense (69.4 ppg) has also been solid thanks largely to owning the nation's fourth-ranked turnover margin (+6.4). Madden paces the squad with 12.6 ppg, shooting a lofty 53.2 percent overall and 30-of-64 from 3-point territory. Portis (11.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Michael Qualls (11.4 ppg), Alandise Harris (9.5 ppg) and Coty Clarke (8.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) can also be relied upon for consistent contributions, and the deep squad has 12 different players who score at least 2.6 ppg.
The Razorbacks' dominance at Bud Walton Arena has been well-established -- their only home loss this season came in overtime to nationally-ranked Florida. Missouri has the playmakers to keep it close, but figure for Arkansas' relentless pursuit in the turnover battle to get the best of the Tigers down the stretch.
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