Razorbacks report:

Missouri 2 could miss UA game

By: Bob Holt
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Missouri guard Mark Smith (13) is helped off the court by teammates Kevin Puryear (24), and Xavier Pinson (1) after he hurt his ankle playing against Arkansas during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Missouri guard Mark Smith (13) is helped off the court by teammates Kevin Puryear (24), and Xavier Pinson (1) after he hurt his ankle playing against Arkansas during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Missouri sophomore guard Mark Smith, the SEC's leader in three-point shooting at 47.5 percent, hasn't played since spraining his left ankle with 1:06 left in the University of Arkansas basketball team's 72-60 victory over the Tigers on Jan. 23 in Walton Arena.

Smith, who hit 6 of 11 of three-pointers and scored 22 points at Arkansas, might miss his sixth consecutive game when the Razorbacks and Tigers play again tonight in Mizzou Arena.

Jeremiah Tilmon, Missouri's 6-10 sophomore center, also is questionable for tonight's game after having emergency dental surgery last week to have his wisdom teeth extracted.

Tilmon didn't play in Missouri's 68-59 home loss to Texas A&M last Saturday.

"Tilmon is one of the better big men in the league, and when you don't have him it changes your team," Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy said in his postgame news conference.

Tilmon had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists at Arkansas earlier this season and is averaging 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds.

Smith is averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds.

"We still have to compete with whoever we have," Missouri freshman guard Javon Pickett told reporters after the Texas A&M game. "We can't make excuses."

Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said the Razorbacks are preparing to play Missouri with Smith and Tilmon in the lineup.

"I expect those guys to play," Anderson said. "The team that played a tough ballgame here."

What if Smith and Tilmon don't play?

"Everybody has got basketball players," Anderson said. "Those [other] guys are on scholarship. They're good players and they're playing at home.

"And it's amazing, sometimes when you don't have some guys, other guys have the opportunities to step up and shine."

Freshman guard Torrence Watson, who started in Smith's place against Texas A&M, scored 12 points.

Nikko Reed, a 6-10 junior who started for Tilmon, had 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 19 minutes before fouling out.

"Not bad, not bad, outside of a couple [missed] block-outs," Missouri Coach Cuonzo Martin said after the game when asked about Reed's first career start. "He did a good job offensively, but we put him in bad spots with passes.

"I always respect Reed's work whether it's 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 20 minutes. He's going to give you everything he has."

Game of runs

Arkansas and Missouri both have had issues holding onto double-digit leads.

The Razorbacks beat the Tigers 72-60 after Missouri jumped out to a 17-4 lead. The Tigers lost to LSU 86-80 in overtime when they couldn't hold a 14-point lead with 2:14 left in regulation. They also couldn't hold a 12-point lead in losing to Texas A&M 68-59.

Arkansas lost an 18-point lead at LSU, but came back to beat the Tigers 90-89. The Razorbacks lost a 10-point lead against Vanderbilt -- which also had a 10-point lead -- but beat the Commodores 69-66. South Carolina rallied to beat Arkansas 77-65 last Saturday after trailing by 13 points.

LSU won 94-88 in overtime at Arkansas after the Tigers blew a 13-point lead.

"The thing about basketball -- and I don't think people understand -- basketball is a game of runs," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "And sometimes early leads can be misleading.

"Teams are going to make a run on you. And the key is, especially when you play on the road, you've got to be in the hunt. You've got to hang around and hang around and give yourself a chance to win.

"But with the invention of the three-point line and teams playing with the shot clock, you erase those leads really, really quick."

Arkansas led South Carolina 50-37 after a dunk by Adrio Bailey with 15:37 left.

"That's a lifetime in basketball," Anderson said. "That's a lot of time.

"It's at the end when you want to be ahead. That's the biggest key there."

Joe's threes

Guard Isaiah Joe, who has hit 82 of 187 three-pointers, is on the verge of breaking Rotnei Clarke's Arkansas freshman record.

Joe is averaging an SEC-leading 3.6 made threes per game and is two shy of breaking Clarke's record of 83 during the 2008-09 season.

"It's critical to our success," Coach Mike Anderson said of Joe's three-point shooting. "We've got to have some guys knock down shots because [opponents are] putting two and sometimes three guys on Daniel [Gafford]."

Joe's 43.9 percent on three-pointers leads freshmen nationally.

Moving on

The Razorbacks are playing at Missouri three days after they lost at South Carolina.

"I'm anxious to see how we respond after a tough, tough loss," Coach Mike Anderson said. "We've got to get that out of our system.

"Eight games left and we're still in contention.There is still a conference championship at stake. So we move forward."

Tennessee leads the SEC race with a 10-0 record. Arkansas is tied for seventh with Alabama at 5-5.

Tale of two halves

Arkansas forced South Carolina into 15 turnovers in the first half. The Razorbacks led 35-31 at halftime after outscoring the Gamecocks 16-2 in points off turnovers.

"The first half was probably the best defense we've played," Coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought our defense was tenacious.

"We were touching balls, we were active. We were in [passing] lanes, getting loose balls, rebounding the basketball. We made it difficult for [Chris] Silva to score, which is their bread-and-butter guy.

"Our defense dictated the tempo. It was uptempo."

So what happened in the second half when South Carolina outscored Arkansas 46-30?

"When they made their run at us, I thought when we didn't get the stops, we stopped pushing the basketball," Anderson said. "A lot of times your energy comes when you score a bucket, and it revs up your defense.

"But I thought we just kind of started walking the ball up the floor, and then it became a tempo that favored South Carolina."

Sports on 02/12/2019

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