Stefhon Hannah did his best to lead the Missouri men’s basketball team to victory against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday night in Fayetteville, Ark.
But the senior guard’s career-high 28 points were not enough. The Tigers lost 94-91.
“It came down to making some plays going down the stretch and we had opportunities to,” coach Mike Anderson said in a radio interview. “Our guys just got to learn how to make plays going down the stretch.”
The loss was Missouri’s second of the season, putting it at 5-2. The Tigers’ other loss happened in another close game against No. 10 Michigan State, which was also decided by three points.
Anderson said he thought the team’s defense against Arkansas had many similarities to the defense it played against Michigan State.
“Our defense at times kind of reverted back to the Michigan State game where we were giving up too many easy opportunities,” Anderson said, “and you can’t afford to do that.”
Too often the Razorbacks got out to fast breaks or penetrated Missouri’s half-court defense for easy baskets. Guard Matt Lawrence said the Tigers gambled too much on the defensive end.
“We had a lot of guys trying to get up and steal the ball instead of getting back (on defense),” Lawrence said by phone after the game. “That turned out to hurt us.”
Lawrence said Hannah really gave Missouri a boost with the team playing in front of a hostile crowd for the first time all season. He said when the Razorbacks were starting to make a run and the crowd was starting to get loud, it was Hannah who would quiet them with a big shot.
“It’s really big to have a guy like that who can make plays when facing adversity,” Lawrence said.
DeMarre Carroll was in foul trouble again for the Tigers. He fouled out for the third time this season. Missouri has had trouble finding low-post scoring with Carroll out because of fouls. With him on the bench, the Tigers become a jump-shooting, guard-oriented team.
The Tigers did have a chance totie the score at the end of the game. They had the ball with 1.9 seconds left, but a difficult three-pointer by Darryl Butterfield missed as time expired.