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Qualls’ 22 leads No. 25 Arkansas past North Texas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Michael Qualls made sure Arkansas didn’t falter in its second outing as a ranked team.

Qualls scored a career-high 22 points and No. 25 Arkansas improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2006 with an 89-73 win over North Texas on Friday night.

The Razorbacks trailed 55-54 midway through the second half before pulling away for their second straight win since being ranked for the first time since November 2007.

Qualls finished with four 3-pointers, topping his previous best of 21 points against California last season. He was matched from the outside by Anthlon Bell — who finished with 15 points. Ky Madden added 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

T.J. Taylor led the Mean Green (4-2) with 16 points. Jordan Williams had 15, Muhammed Ahmed 12 and Maurice Anieflok 10.

North Texas has now lost 45 straight games against ranked opponents, with its last win coming against Louisville in 1971.

The Razorbacks last opened 5-0 during the 2006-07 season, losing their sixth game that year at Missouri. Their last 6-0 start came during the 1997-98 season when they started 8-0.

North Texas never trailed by more than five points in the first half, thanks in large part to committing only three first-half turnovers and shooting 13 of 27 (48.1 percent) from the field.

The Mean Green stayed close for much of the second half, even taking a 55-54 lead on DeAndre Harris’ breakaway dunk with 11:57 remaining.

Led by back-to-back baskets by Bobby Portis, who battled foul trouble in the first half, Arkansas finally gained control of the game for good with an 11-2 run to take a 68-58 lead. Qualls, who has now scored in double figures in four of five games this season, also had a pair of free throws during the run.

Qualls also finished with nine rebounds, two short of his career high of 11 — set against Tennessee two seasons ago as a freshman.

TIP-INS

North Texas: After some hot shooting to open the game, the Mean Green cooled off in the second half — hitting 13 of 31 (41.9 percent) shots. Williams was 5-of-15 shooting for the game.

Arkansas: With Portis, the Razorbacks preseason first-team Southeastern Conference selection, limited to 15 minutes before fouling out, sophomore center Moses Kingsley came off the bench and had nine points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.

UP NEXT

North Texas plays the second of three straight games on the road when it faces Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

Arkansas takes the court for the third time in six days when it hosts Iona on Sunday.

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