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Sean East erupts for career-high 33 points, but Tigers remain winless in SEC play

It took 14 games and nearly two full months, but Arkansas basketball finally has its first SEC winning streak of the season.

The Razorbacks (14-13, 5-9 SEC) are back over .500 after an 88-73 victory over Missouri (8-19, 0-14). The Hogs outscored the Tigers 18-8 over a six-minute stretch in the second half to pull away.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Missouri, who is still searching for its first league win. The Tigers have lost 17 of their last 18 games.

The Tigers actually led just past the 12-minute mark in the second half but were unable to earn their first SEC win.

Here are five observations from the Missouri-Arkansas game, including a heroic performance from an Arkansas guard...

Khalif Battle puts Arkansas on his shoulders

What a showing for Battle, who led Arkansas with a career-high 42 points and torched the Missouri defense in a variety of ways.

He knocked down six 3-pointers and shot 14-for-14 from the free-throw line. Battle was able to stretch the Missouri defense and get to the bucket, where he converted on a handful of contested layups. He also pulled down six rebounds.

No SEC player has scored more points in a game this season, and Battle became the first Razorback to score 40 points since Mason Jones in 2020.

This was the third-straight game Battle reached double figures in scoring. Before this run, he had only scored more than 10 points in two SEC games.

Missouri survives in the paint

The Tigers loaded up the interior against Arkansas, refusing to get out-muscled like they did earlier this season.

The Hogs mustered just 26 points in the paint Saturday after scoring 52 in the previous meeting. Connor Vanover and Noah Carter provided good defensive minutes from the frontcourt.

Missouri did a great job forcing Arkansas into 25 3-point attempts, which is the most shots from downtown Arkansas has taken throughout the SEC season. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Hogs also made an SEC-high 10 3s. Many of those came from Battle, but it’s hard to fault the Missouri game plan.

Hogs take care of the ball

Arkansas’ inconsistent offense looks to be turning the corner. The Razorbacks had more assists than turnovers for a third straight game, dishing out 16 dimes against just five turnovers.

Davonte Davis led the way with six assists, while Tramon Mark and Makhi Mitchell had each had three.

Sean East II keeps Missouri close

There can be no blame assigned to East for the Tigers’ latest loss.

The senior guard scored a career-high 33 points, using his speed and craftiness to get inside the paint, where he made short 2s and got fouled. East went 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.

East has scored 82 points in his last three games, good for 27.3 points per contest.

Nick Honor chipped in 14 points for Missouri, but East carried the load. Still, the Tigers couldn’t keep up with Battle’s heroics.

Trevon Brazile returns from injury

The Arkansas stretch-four checked into the game with 12:32 remaining in the first half, marking his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury in the Hogs’ loss to Ole Miss on Jan. 24.

Brazile finished with zero points in just four minutes. The Missouri transfer was at one point this year a potential lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, but he’s only averaging 8.9 points per game.

The Star has partnered with the Columbia Daily Tribune for coverage of Missouri Tigers athletics.