No. 23 Arkansas rallies to edge Georgia, 79-75
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Bobby Portis scored 21 points, Michael Qualls added 15 and No. 23 Arkansas rallied from a first-half deficit of 13 points to beat Georgia 79-75 on Tuesday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for each team.
Arkansas (12-2, 1-0 SEC) needed a strong second half for its sixth straight win. The Razorbacks played from behind before taking their first lead with about 6 minutes remaining.
A rebound and basket by Georgia’s Marcus Thornton with 4.5 seconds remaining cut the Arkansas lead to 77-75. Two free throws by Qualls pushed the lead back to four points.
Nemanja Djurisic led Georgia (9-4, 0-1) with 16 points. The loss ended the Bulldogs’ six-game winning streak, their longest in four years.
With Arkansas leading 74-70, Georgia’s Kenny Gaines missed a long jumper. Following a missed attempted tip by Georgia, the Razorbacks quickly pushed the ball the other way to set up a powerful jam by Qualls.
Alandise Harris had 15 points for Arkansas.
Georgia led the full first half, including a big lead of 13 points at 38-25. The Bulldogs made only four of their first 18 shots in the second half, opening the door for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas pulled even for the first time at 61-all on a 3-pointer by Anton Beard. It took its first lead at 63-61 on a jumper by Harris with 6:33 remaining.
Georgia freshman Yante Maten answered with an inside basket but missed a free throw, leaving the Bulldogs with their last lead at 64-63.
Harris sank a long jumper and then added a 3-pointer on the Razorbacks’ next possession. A basket by Qualls pushed the lead to 70-64.
Djurisic had 11 points as Georgia led 44-37 at halftime, despite 15 points by Portis. Georgia made six of nine 3-pointers in the half.
Arkansas, which moved back into the Top 25 on Monday, was ranked when opening its SEC schedule for the first time since 1999.
Arkansas: The school announced before the game Anderson signed a two-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season. His salary is unchanged at $2.2 million annually. … Arkansas played its SEC opener on the road for the third straight year.
Georgia: The 9-3 nonconference record was Georgia’s best since 2011, when Bulldogs were 11-2 before finishing with 21 wins and its last berth in the NCAA tournament. … Thornton and Juwan Parker each had 11 points. Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier each had 10.
Arkansas hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Georgia at Louisiana State on Saturday.