FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Isaiah Joe scored 21 points in his first game in three weeks and Arkansas snapped a five-game losing streak Saturday, beating Missouri, 78-68.
Joe (knee) was absent from all five of Arkansas’ losses, sending the Razorbacks (17-10, 5-9 SEC) from likely prospect for the NCAA Tournament to near the bottom of the SEC standings. He scored 15 of his 21 from beyond the arc, as the Razorbacks made 12 from 3-point range as a team.
“Look, we all know it’s been a struggle without him for a variety of reasons. We just can’t afford a guy like Isaiah not to be in our lineup,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “I thought he was awesome. He opens up 3-balls for other people as well, just being out there.”
Missouri (13-14, 5-9), which outrebounded Arkansas 36-23, was led by Kobe Brown, Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith, each scoring in double figures for the Tigers, led by Brown’s 17. The trio shot just 3-for-16 on 3-pointers.
Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin is the most accurate 3-point shooter in Purdue history from playing days in the early and mid 1990s. He was impressed by Joe’s shot, as the sophomore missed the teams’ first meeting earlier this month, a four-point Missouri win.
“They’re a different team,” Martin said. “The player is an all-league guy. Not many guys can shoot the ball like that. He can stroke it.”
Desi Sills, Jimmy Whitt Jr., Mason Jones and Adrio Bailey joined Joe in double figures for Arkansas, scoring 17, 14, 12 and 11, respectively.
A MUCH DIFFERENT TEAM
Jones leads both the SEC and team in scoring, but Joe is a projected NBA first-round pick. He made two 3s from more than two feet beyond the line and Arkansas’ 12 makes were tied for its season high. The Razorbacks are 16-5 in games he has played and 1-5 in games he missed
Missouri hasn’t beaten Arkansas in Fayetteville since 2014. That win was later vacated as Missouri admitted to NCAA violations. Before 2014, the last time Missouri won at Arkansas was in 1991, a stretch covering 13 games.
Arkansas would likely need to win its remaining four regular-season games to slip back into the NCAA Tournament picture.
Missouri is now tied for 11th in the in the 14-team SEC standings with the Razorbacks.
Missouri travels to last-place Vanderbilt for a game Wednesday.
Arkansas hosts Tennessee on Wednesday. The Volunteers won the teams’ first meeting February 11 in Knoxville, 82-61.