It wasn't the gift head coach Mike Anderson was hoping for, but the Arkansas basketball team picked up its 20th home win in a row Thursday night, 72-43, against Savannah State on Anderson's 54th birthday.
Of all 351 teams in Division I college basketball, Savannah was statistically ranked worst in the country, according to the RPI rankings. However, the Hogs only led 27-25 at halftime.
To start the second half, Arkansas went on runs of 12-2 and 14-2 to take control. Savannah State was limited to just 18 points in the second half.
Rashad Madden had a career high 21 points to lead the Hogs. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Bobby Portis added his first career double-double with 10 point and 11 rebounds.
“I thought we played with a lot more energy in the second half and it resulted in our type of final 20 minutes,” said Anderson, who celebrated his 244th career win on his birthday. “I didn’t like our energy or execution in the first half. We let them (Savannah State) slow the tempo down and we made good adjustments at the half. Defensively, I thought it was one of our better performances and we need that as we draw closer to SEC play.”
Leading scorer Michael Qualls was suspended for the first half for being late to a practice this week.
The announced crowd of 5,654 was the seventh lowest ever at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas will finish off its four-game homestand at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday, Dec. 19, when it hosts Tennessee-Martin. Tip is slated for 7 p.m.