The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 6, 2014

Portis leads Arkansas in 65-58 win over Alabama

— FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Bobby Portis knew after his first shot that good things were about to happen on Wednesday night.

Even the Arkansas freshman didn't know just how good.

Led by Portis' career-high 35 points, the Razorbacks rallied late and held on for a 65-58 win over Alabama.

They did so thanks to a career night from their McDonald's All-American, who set the school record for most points in a game by a freshman. Portis passed Scotty Thurman's mark of 34 points, which was reached twice during the 1992-93 season, and he did so with Thurman watching from the bench.

By the end of the game, which Arkansas (14-8, 3-6 Southeastern Conference) needed badly after losing two of its last three at home, chants of "Bobby, Bobby" could be heard throughout Bud Walton Arena.

Portis started his night with a pair of quick jumpers, scoring Arkansas' first eight points. The hot start was a sign of things to come.

"I hit those first two jumpers, and then I just knew, 'Oh yeah, I'm fixing to have a big night now,'" Portis said.

Portis added nine rebounds and a career-best six blocks in the best effort of his young career, finishing 14 of 17 from the field on a night when the rest of his teammates needed someone to carry them.

The rest of the Razorbacks combined to finish 8 of 40 (20 percent) from the field, but the lackluster effort was enough to earn the win — thanks to Portis. The freshman topped his previous career-best of 19 points, which came in a 104-71 win over Texas San Antonio on Jan. 4.

"He had it going on," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "It seemed like when he touched it, good things took place."

Rodney Cooper led the Crimson Tide (9-13, 3-6), which has now lost five of its last six games, with 22 points, while Trevor Relaford added 12.

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