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Free throws lift Missouri past Arkansas 75-71

AP - Sports
Free throws lift Missouri past Arkansas 75-71
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown scored 24 points each as Missouri earned its first win in Bud Walton Arena with a 75-71 victory over Arkansas on Tuesday night.

The Tigers (16-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) were winless in six attempts in the building entering the game, but they hit 16 of 16 free throws in the second half to pull away late.

Brown scored 19 points in the second half, while Ross hit a late 3-pointner to give Missouri a 67-64 lead - leading to the game-clinching free throws. Jordan Clarkson added 11 points for the Tigers, who had a 42-26 rebounding advantage.

Ky Madden led the Razorbacks (13-7, 2-5), who have now lost twice at home in conference play, with 20 points. They were undefeated at home in the SEC last season.

Madden's three-point play tied the game at 64-64 for Arkansas late, but Missouri answered on the other end.

After an offensive rebound kept the possession alive, Clarkson drove to the basket and kicked the ball out to Ross - who drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 59.4 seconds remaining to put the Tigers up 67-64.

Following a miss by Madden for the Razorbacks, Missouri then sealed the win at the free throw line. Both Brown and Ross were 8 of 8 on free throws, and the Tigers were 22 of 27 overall.

Johnathan Williams led Missouri's rebounding advantage with 12 rebounds.

Michael Qualls and Bobby Portis each added 16 points for Arkansas, which also lost at home in overtime to Florida on Jan. 14. The Razorbacks had won 25 of their last 26 games in Bud Walton Arena.

After struggling to shoot the ball inside for much of the first half, Arkansas came alive early in the second.

It did so behind the resurgence of Qualls - the high-flying sophomore who was the team's leading scorer until a shooting slump that began with the start of SEC play. Qualls entered Tuesday 11 of 56 (19.6 percent) in six conference games, but he was 3 of 3 on 3-pointers in the first half.

Qualls' fourth 3-pointer of the game put the Razorbacks up 61-60, but Brown answered with back-to-back baskets to put Missouri up 64-61.

Brown, the SEC's leading scorer at 19.5 points per game, started slowly - scoring just five points on 1-of-3 shooting in the first half.

However, the junior came alive in the second - hitting three early 3-pointers as Missouri used an 11-0 run to surge ahead 56-46. Brown, who has scored at least 22 points in each of his last five games, connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to cap the Tigers' run.

Missouri led by as many as 10 points in the first half before settling for a 36-34 halftime advantage. The Tigers were 14-of-28 shooting (50 percent) in the half, compared with just 10 of 27 (37 percent) for the Razorbacks.

Ross gave Missouri a 33-23 lead late in the half with a dunk following one of Arkansas' nine first-half turnovers, but the Razorbacks countered with an 11-3 run to close out the half.

Coty Clarke's step-back 3-pointer late in the half pulled Arkansas within 36-34. It was one of eight 3-pointers in the half by the Razorbacks, who finished with only 10 field goals overall in the half.

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