Transfer guard surprises Mizzou with 42

Missouri came into Walton Arena on Saturday with a good game plan looking for its first SEC win of the season. The Tigers are still searching after running into a Battle.

Khalif Battle that is, a graduate senior from Temple who was getting his seventh start as an Arkansas Razorback.

Battle, who started his collegiate career at Butler before transferring to Temple where he averaged 17.9 points per game, was averaging 10.6 points per game this season before the Hogs 88-73 win over the Tigers.

Battle was golden against Mizzou.

His statistic line was impressive all the way across the board.

His 42 points, which until the final 2:30 was more than 55% of Arkansas' scoring, came on 11-of-15 shooting, including 6-10 on threes, and he was 14-14 on free throws.

Battle also had 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.

He did everything but carry the luggage to and from the bus.

Coming out of a TV timeout with 11:04 to play and the score tied at 50, Battle went on a 15-4 run. The Tigers could only get within nine points one more time as Arkansas' defense picked up the pace after Coach Eric Musselman called a timeout and made it clear to everyone they were not getting back on defense and they were playing too soft.

The last 16 minutes the Tigers were 5-of-19 shooting and got 19 of their 39 second-half points at the free-throw line.

The Razorbacks secured their first back-to-back wins since Dec. 30.

In the Hogs' 78-71 win Tuesday over Texas A&M, they had 12 assists on 23 field goals. They were even better at sharing yesterday when seven different guys, led by Davonte "Devo" Davis' 6, accounted for 16 assists on 25 field goals.

Missouri opened with a zone and both teams struggled offensively early but with 8:38 to play in the first half Battle hit his second field goal and there was no one on the Missouri bench who could slow him down. Stopping him was out of the question.

With Battle leading the way the Hogs overcame the officials who called 50 combined fouls, which makes it hard for either team to get into a rhythm.

Arkansas' Makhi Mitchell fouled out but not before making an impact off the bench with 13 points and six rebounds. Arkansas' bench contributed 22 points to just seven for Missouri.

In addition to six assists, Davis led all rebounders with nine.

A lot of it might have had to do with Battle's hot hand, but the Razorbacks had only five turnovers. By the way, none were by Battle.

Arkansas now gets Vanderbilt at home and a chance for a 3-0 win streak before going to Kentucky and Alabama with a game against LSU in between.

On a sidenote of the game, the ESPN2 announcers were kind and generous with their comments about Dickie Nutt, second oldest of the infamous Nutt sports dynasty at Central High and various colleges.

Earlier this month Nutt took a leave of absence from the Tiger basketball program for treatment for sarcoma, a cancer between the muscle and bone. He is receiving chemotherapy in Columbia, Mo.

Nutt played college basketball at Oklahoma State and became an assistant there and later at Arkansas State, where in 1995 he was named head coach and stayed in that position until 2008 when he went to Southeast Missouri State.

He has been an assistant coach since 2015 and joined the Missouri staff in 2020.

In a tweet, or whatever you call a message on X, he said not to worry, he's got this. He's got great support from his family and in the community. That it was caught fairly early and he planned to be back at work as soon as possible.

Thoughts and prayers for him and his family as goes through this.

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