Busting Brackets

Arkansas Razorbacks get Texas A&M’s best effort


The Arkansas Razorbacks got Texas A&M’s best shot, but they still came up on top with former head coach Nolan Richardson in the building.

Texas A&M has had an unbelievable year this season in the Southeastern Conference and Houston transfer Danuel House is the reason for the Aggies success.

House came into Tuesday night’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks averaging 19.7 points per game during Texas A&M’s three-game winning streak. No. 18 Arkansas awaited the hot streaking Aggies Tuesday night inside Bud Walton Arena.

More from Arkansas Razorbacks

The Arkansas Razorbacks (23-5, 12-3) came into the game riding a six-game winning streak and extended their winning streak to seven with an 81-75 victory over Texas A&M. They have also won 10 of their last 11 overall, putting a chokehold on second place in the SEC standings.

Arkansas had four players to score in double figures: Bobby Portis (22), Anthlon Bell (14), Alandise Harris (11), and Rashad Madden (11).

On the same night of the victory, former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson was the center of attention. A banner recognizing the greatness of Richardson was lifted into the rafters at halftime.

Richardson became the coach for the program in 1985 and led the Arkansas Razorbacks to three-consecutive Final Fours, losing to Duke in the national semifinals in 1993, defeating the Blue Devils to win the national championship in 1994, then losing in the championship game to UCLA in 1995. It was right for the fans and the program to give Richardson respect for all of the glory years he gave the school and the sport itself.

During the first half, Arkansas, under head coach Mike Anderson, helped Richardson remember how gritty and dirty his players played in the early 1990s.

The Razorbacks forced the Aggies (19-8, 10-5) into 21 turnovers in the first half, which led to 27 points. At one point, Arkansas led 46-21 over frustrating Texas A&M and didn’t allow the Aggies to breathe in the air that was inside the arena. Portis and Bell had 14 points apiece for the Razorbacks, who shot 54.5 percent (18-of-33) from the field after the first 20 minutes.

In the first seven minutes of the primed SEC match-up, Texas A&M wasn’t looking decent enough on offense to get to at least 20 points while Arkansas went on a 10-0 run to take a 33-9 lead. House was the only positive for the Aggies on offense as he scored 13 of his team’s 26 first-half points.

House was also 4-for-7 from the field, but his stat sheet and his team’s flustered performance were overlooked by the dominance of the Razorbacks, who brought back the “40 minutes of hell” theme Richardson’s team showcased during his early years with the program.

With 7:38 left in the game, Arkansas was up 71-55, in the driver’s seat to their 12th win in the SEC, a milestone the team hasn’t accomplished since the 1994-95 season.

But players on the opposing team had something to say about it. The Aggies went on a 10-0 run to get within 71-65, then House scored five straight points as Texas A&M was down 74-72 with 1:30 to go.

House finished with 28 points.

The Razorbacks were expecting this one to be a tune-up for Saturday’s showdown against No. 1 Kentucky.  Instead, Arkansas was in a late fist fight. Michael Qualls sealed the game from the foul line, going 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Qualls finished with six points.

The Razorbacks and the Aggies are both locks for March. Arkansas is playing great basketball right now and Texas A&M is a team that’s not intimidated by any team in the AP Top 25. The Aggies refuse to give up and that’s why they will get a first round bye in the SEC tournament and receive an at-large bid come March.

Next: Big Ten basketball the most contentious in all the nation

More from Busting Brackets