FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Bobby Portis scored 22 points and No. 18 Arkansas won its seventh straight game with an 81-75 victory over Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
The win solidifies the Razorbacks (23-5, 12-3 Southeastern Conference) hold on second place in the SEC heading into a showdown with No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday. It also gives Arkansas, which has won 10 of 11 games overall, 12 wins in SEC play for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
Anthlon Bell added 14 points and Alandise Harris and Ky Madden had 11 each for the Razorbacks, who led by as many as 25 points in the first half before holding off a second-half rally by the Aggies (19-8, 10-5).
Danuel House led Texas A&M with 28 points, while Kourtney Roberson had 14 — 12 coming in the second half.
On a night when Hall of Famer Nolan Richardson was honored with a banner in the Bud Walton Arena rafters at halftime, Arkansas played the same harassing, pressure style it once did under its former coach in the first half.
The Razorbacks opened the game on a 10-0 run in the battle for second place in the SEC, eventually extending their lead to 33-9 over the flustered Aggies.
At one point, as Arkansas took a 46-21 lead on free throws by Michael Qualls, Texas A&M had as many turnovers (15) as it did shot attempts. The Aggies, who matched their season worst with 21 turnovers in a loss to Dayton, had with 16 turnovers of those in the first half.
Bell came off the bench to score all 14 of his points in the half, leading an Arkansas offense that hit 18 of 33 (54.5 percent) shots and 8 of 16 3-pointers. The junior was 4 of 5 from behind the arc in the half, while Portis was 6 of 7 from the field.
Led by a 44-23 rebounding advantage, the Aggies recovered in the second half and closed the Razorbacks lead to 74-72 on a layup by House with 1:30 remaining. Madden and Qualls, however, hit free throw in the closing minute to help Arkansas extend its lead and improve to 16-1 at home this season.
Texas A&M: After committing 16 first-half turnovers, the Aggies — who entered the game having won 10 of 12 games — had only five in the second half … Jalen Jones had 13 rebounds to lead the rebounding edge, including six on the offensive end.
Arkansas: Portis, second in the SEC in scoring at 17.4 points per game, topped the 20-point mark for the first time in four games. The sophomore has scored in double figures in 23 straight games, and he’s finished in single digits only once this season.
Texas A&M hosts Auburn on Saturday.
Arkansas is at No. 1 Kentucky, which it has defeated three straight times, on Saturday.
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