Arkansas holds on to beat Anderson, Missouri 94-91

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Missouri's Keon Lawrence (2) drove toward the basket around Arkansas' Stefan Welsh (14) during Wednesday's game in Fayetteville, Ark. (BETH HALL ~ Associated Press)

Hannah led the Tigers with 28 points, including 19 in the first half.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Mike Anderson's return to Bud Walton Arena ended a little sooner than he wanted.

"I don't think our guys lost," Anderson said. "They just ran out of time."

Charles Thomas scored 21 points and defended two last-second 3-pointers by Missouri, helping Arkansas hold off the Tigers 94-91 on Wednesday night. Anderson, Missouri's coach, spent 17 seasons as an assistant at Arkansas under Nolan Richardson.

Sonny Weems made two free throws with 15 seconds left to give Arkansas a three-point lead. With the 6-foot-8 Thomas defending, Missouri's Stefhon Hannah tried an off-balance 3-pointer that missed, but a jump ball was called on the rebound and the possession arrow favored the Tigers.

"I was trying to get fouled on that last shot," Hannah said.

After Arkansas (5-1) called timeout to set up its defense, Darryl Butterfield took an inbound pass in the left corner. Also apparently trying to draw a foul, Butterfield leaned into Thomas. There was no call and his toss went nowhere near the basket.

Hannah led Missouri (5-2) with 28 points. The game included 21 lead changes and 12 ties.

Richardson was fired by Arkansas in 2002, and although Anderson interviewed for the job, Arkansas hired Stan Heath instead. Anderson became the coach at Alabama-Birmingham in 2002-03 and took over Missouri last season. One of his first big wins with the Tigers was an 86-64 home victory over Arkansas.

Anderson was coaching for the first time in the Razorbacks' home arena since he was briefly Arkansas' interim coach after Richardson's firing. He received a lengthy, warm ovation from the Arkansas fans when he was introduced before the game and showed his appreciation with a wave.

"That's just the people of Arkansas, appreciative of the things that we did," Anderson said. "They're true fans."

This was the Razorbacks' first big home game under new coach John Pelphrey, and the crowd -- which included golfer and Arkansas native John Daly -- was ready from the start.

The game was played at a tempo that Richardson might have appreciated. Arkansas led 51-50 after an entertaining first half.

"If we were going to go down, we were going to go down swinging," Pelphrey said.

Missouri went on a 15-3 run to take a 21-13 lead, but Arkansas answered with an 18-5 run that included two breakaway layups by Patrick Beverley and two breakaway dunks by Gary Ervin.

Hannah scored 19 points in the first half.

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