Arkansas Men’s Basketball collected its fifth straight Southeastern Conference win Wednesday after ripping off a 15-2 second-half run to take control of the Ole Miss Rebels in a 64-55 victory in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Razorbacks got out to an early 11-4 lead with 13:04 in the first half, but Ole Miss chipped away and gained a 14-13 lead of its own with 7:14 on the clock.
The Hogs pulled away again and took a 30-23 lead into halftime, thanks to 14 points scored by the SEC's leading scorer, senior guard JD Notae. He finished the opening period shooting 6-12 from the field, including 2-6 from 3-point range. One of those 3-pointers was his first-half buzzer beater from deep.
Arkansas spent much of the second half trying to keep the Rebels at bay. The Razorbacks kept a one- or two-possession lead for much of the final half. With 11:26 remaining , a Notae jumper set off the run to push the Hogs over the top. By 4:26, Arkansas had an insurmountable 16-point lead and began to run the clock to close the game.
The Arkansas defense as a whole was impressive, holding the Rebels to under 35% shooting from the field and just 22% from 3-point range.
“Defensively, we’re playing at an elite level through this stretch,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said in the postgame press conference. “We have really good size, and I think we have been much more defensively disciplined.”
Notae finished with 25 points on 10-23 shooting, including 4-10 from deep. His shooting was skillfull, although he gave up five turnovers.
“I thought he was awesome,” Musselman said. “You’re asking him to do a lot by scoring and being a point guard. We’d like to see him take care of the ball more, but when you play anybody for 38 minutes, you really rely on him.”
Sophomore forward Jaylin Williams continued to be the linchpin of the team. He had 18 points, shot 6-10 from the field, and even added two 3-pointers. Williams was a defensive menace around the rim, racking up three blocks.
The Razorbacks will look to push their winning streak to six when they take on the West Virginia Mountaineers at 1 p.m. Saturday in Bud Walton Arena. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 2.