Arkansas takes on Auburn in SEC affair

Auburn, AL (SportsNetwork.com) – Back in the Top-25, the 24th-ranked Arkansas
Razorbacks hit the road for two games this week, starting with Tuesday’s SEC
clash with the Auburn Tigers.

Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks have won two straight games and five of their last
six overall, moving to 18-5 overall, with a solid 7-3 league ledger, remaining
within striking distance in the conference standings. Arkansas played a pair
of home games to kick off February, routing both South Carolina (75-55) and
Mississippi State (61-41) in Fayetteville.

Bruce Pearl’s first season at Auburn hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.
The Tigers have had some strong moments, but currently sit one game under .500
at 11-12. The team is just 3-7 in the SEC and has lost five of its last six
games, including Saturday’s 86-79 shootout loss to Ole Miss.

Arkansas leads the all-time series, 31-16. The Razorbacks have won seven
straight meetings with the Tigers dating back to 2010.

Arkansas jumped all over MSU in the first half and effectively buried the
Bulldogs, taking a 30-9 lead into intermission, before cruising to the 20-
point victory. Sophomore Bobby Portis was once again phenomenal, recording a
double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Anthlon Bell came off the bench
to add 12 points for Arkansas, which won easily despite shooting a rather weak
.375 from the floor overall.

Despite the rather pedestrian numbers in the last outing, Arkansas remains a
potent squad offensively, leading the SEC with 79.3 ppg (14th nationally). The
team also boasts of positives in both rebounding (+3.0) and turnover (+4.3)
margins, ranking ninth nationally in the latter. The 6-11 Portis is a dominant
frontcourt presence, leading the conference in scoring at 17.7 ppg and ranking
fourth in rebounding with 8.8 rpg. Junior guard Michael Qualls can fill up the
basket as well, generating 15.1 ppg (eighth in the league). Senior guard
Rashad Madden (9.7 ppg) is just under the double-digit mark in scoring.

The Tigers aren’t the most explosive team around in terms of scoring at a
modest 67.9 ppg, but the team does possess strong individual performers in the
form of KT Harrell, Antoine Mason and Cinmeon Bowers. Harrell is a senior
guard with great scoring potential, ranking second in the SEC at 17.5 ppg,
thanks in large part to his 65 3-pointers and his .451 efficiency from behind
the arc. Mason (15.2 ppg) is another veteran guard with a knack for scoring.
Bowers, a 6-7, 278-pounder, gives the team a real low-post presence. The
junior forward is averaging a double-double with 13.5 points and a
conference-best 11.1 rebounds per game.

Auburn led by one point at the half (32-31), but Ole Miss shot a scorching
.714 from the field over the final 20 minutes of action to pick up the win at
Auburn Arena this past weekend. Auburn showed some balance in the loss, as
five Tigers notched double figures in scoring. Mason led the way with a game-
high 23 points. Harrell was next with 16, followed by Tahj Shamsid-Deen (13
pts), Malcolm Canada (12 pts) and Bowers (11 pts), who finished with 13
rebounds for the double-double.