Alabama went in to Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Thursday night looking to find a way to eke out a victory against an Arkansas team that had been exceptional at home all season. However, rather than just sneak out with a victory, the Tide shot the arena doors off, shooting 55% from the field and a rare 55% from behind the arc. This rare offensive outburst allowed the Tide to cruise to a 79-68 victory over the Razorbacks. The win allowed Alabama to improve to 18-9 and 7-6 in Southeastern Conference play and propelled them in to a 3-way tie for 4th place in the league with LSU and Tennessee. Alabama owns the tie-breaker over both teams, and if the season ended today they would hold the coveted first round bye in the SEC Tournament in New Orleans. Coach Anthony Grant was very pleased with the play of his team, as they continue to compete without the presence of senior forward JaMychal Green, who is expected to play Saturday against Mississippi State after being suspended for 3 games, and junior forward Tony Mitchell, who has been suspended for the season.
"This was a great win," Grant said. "Anytime you can come into this place and get a win it's special. The thing we talked about was playing a full 40 minutes. We knew no deficit was insurmountable and no lead was safe. Our guys understood this, stepped up, and made plays."
Alabama was able to outgun the Hogs thanks to equal offensive output from all facets of it's team. The Tide's starters scored 41 points while the bench contributed 38. Alabama's veterans scored 36 points while their talented crop of freshmen poured in 43. The Tide was led in scoring by freshman guard Rodney Cooper, who cam off the bench to score 17 points. Fellow freshman phenom forward Nick Jacobs had 14 points and 4 rebounds. Senior guard Andrew Steele had 15 points, 3 assists, and 6 rebounds while sophomore guard Trevor Releford also had 6 rebounds to go along with his 14 points.
Coach Mike Anderson's Arkansas Razorbacks saw their record fall to 17-11 and 5-8 in the SEC. The Hogs were led in scoring by star freshman guard B.J. Young and his game-high 21 points. Young also had 5 assists in the game before fouling out with less than 2 minutes to go in the game. Guards Rickey Scott and Mardracus Wade 12 points and 11 points, respectively, while forward Devonta Abron had 7 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Alabama returns home to Coleman Coliseum for a 5 pm CT showdown against the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. ESPN is scheduled to broadcast the game.