FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Jabril Durham claimed the bulk of the responsibility for Arkansas’ disheartening loss to Auburn on Wednesday, a game in which his defensive gamble led to a crushing late 3-pointer.
The Razorbacks point guard channeled any leftover frustration from that loss into a career-best effort on Saturday night, an 84-72 victory over Missouri.
Durham scored a career-high 17 points in the second victory over the Tigers this season for Arkansas (13-14, 6-8 Southeastern Conference), but it was his early energy and otherwise all-around performance that set the tone more than his scoring outburst.
The senior added six assists and two steals, and he hit a pair of early 3-pointers while scoring nine of the Razorbacks’ first 14 points as they built a 17-point first-half lead and never trailed in ending a three-game losing streak.
“It feels great, just coming back and that my teammates still had confidence in me from the get-go” Durham said. “As a point guard, you put a lot of pressure on yourself when you lose and you take that to heart, so it was a great feeling to come out here today and get this (win).”
While Durham set the tone, he had plenty of help in the form of 22 points from Dusty Hannahs and a 15-point, 12-rebound effort from Moses Kingsley – the 13th double-double for the center this season.
Arkansas struggled defensively in its loss to Auburn on Wednesday, allowing the Tigers to shoot a season-high 61.1 percent and hit 15 3-pointers.
The Razorbacks were back to their usual harassing defensive ways on Saturday, with Durham – who was distraught after the Auburn loss – leading the way while diving on the floor for loose balls, crashing into opposing players and leaping out of bounds in attempts to keep possession.
It was exactly the kind of effort Arkansas coach Mike Anderson was looking for after the poor showing against Auburn.
“I thought (Durham) was big,” Anderson said. “He’s a senior, and obviously, these are his last days … He set the tone for us.”
Kevin Puryear scored 23 points to lead Missouri (10-17, 3-11), which had its two-game winning streak snapped. Ryan Rosburg added 11 points for the Tigers, while Namon Wright had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers have now lost 24 straight road games, with their last victory away from home coming two years ago in Fayetteville.
Missouri trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, but it opened the second on a 9-2 run and cut the Arkansas lead to 45-39 after a 3-pointer by Puryear.
However, Kingsley started a 9-2 Razorbacks’ run with a basket inside and Arkansas never led by fewer than eight points the rest of the game.
“Physically, we couldn’t match up with Kingsley,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “Certainly, he was a monster on the inside … I thought we fought until the end.”
Arkansas shot 62.7 percent from the field while handing Missouri the worst loss in the 11-year history of Mizzou Arena on Jan. 12, a 33-point victory for the Razorbacks.
They continued their one-sided domination of the Tigers throughout the first half on Saturday, leading by as many as 17 points before settling for a 43-30 halftime lead and keeping control in the second half of the much-needed victory.
Missouri: Puryear’s 23 points were a career high, topping the freshman’s 22 in a loss at Alabama on Feb. 6. Wright’s 12-rebound effort was also a career best, with his previous best of nine coming against Mississippi State earlier this season.
Arkansas: Former Razorbacks coach Eddie Sutton was at Saturday’s game and had a banner unveiled in his name in Bud Walton Arena at halftime. Sutton, 79, coached at Arkansas for 11 seasons from 1974-85, leading the school to 260 wins and the 1978 Final Four.
Kingsley’s now has 13 double-doubles on the season, joining LSU’s Ben Simmons as the only two players in the SEC with more than 12 such efforts on the season. The junior, who backed up SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis a season ago, only had one double-double in his career entering the season.
Missouri is at Mississippi on Tuesday.
Arkansas hosts LSU on Tuesday.