No. 24 Arkansas put on an absolute clinic against Auburn on Tuesday, scoring 101 points in a 101-87 win.
In fact, Arkansas became the first major conference team to score 100+ points on the road this season. How in the world does that happen? Especially against a league rival?
“Everything’s clicking,” Arkansas guard Anthlon Bell said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Coach (Mike Anderson) has been preaching defense, and he said the shots were going to start to fall – and they started falling tonight.”
Arkansas erupted for 58 points in the first half, as five players finished with double figures – including Bell, who had 16 points in 13 minutes. Bell was 4-of-7 from downtown to go along with two rebounds and an assist.
As a team, Arkansas shot 53.8 percent from the floor and 11-of-23 (47.8 percent) from three. If you shoot the ball that well from deep, you’re not losing to anybody.
“Like I said, if we play defense, we get easy shots,” Bell said.
Seemingly every Razorback stuffed the stat sheet in some way. Bobby Portis had 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal. Michael Qualls had 19 points, two rebounds, two assists and two seals. Rashad Madden had 12 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. Alandise Harris had 10 points, two blocks and a steal.
It was unreal.
“We just need production from everybody,” Bell said. “We know if everybody chips in, (we can get) an easy win.”
Arkansas (19-5, 8-3) has now won six of seven, with the only loss coming by a point at Florida on Jan. 31. The Razorbacks, who are second in the SEC standings, have seven conference games remaining, including a road game against No. 1 Kentucky (24-0, 11-0) on Feb. 28.
“We just know we need to go on a nice run at the end to show the whole country that we’re for real,” Bell said.
It’ll be interesting to see how many SEC teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The conference only has two ranked teams, and every program except Kentucky and Arkansas has at least six losses.
Still, Bell believes the conference deserves more praise than it’s getting.
“I think we need as many teams (in the tournament) as we can,” he said. “This is a tough league. Everybody plays hard every night. Just look at some of the non-conference wins from the SEC. We know we have a good league.”
But what about those aforementioned Wildcats? Does Arkansas have what it take to go to Rupp Arena and take down the top team in the land?
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Bell said. “So when we get there, we’ll find out.”
Arkansas next plays at Ole Miss (16-7, 7-3) this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. Ole Miss has won five straight and six of seven, even beating Arkansas, 96-82, on Jan. 17.
“We got to get back to the drawing board in practice and then go play hard on Saturday,” Bell said. “If we play hard, we know we’ll come out with the W.”