Tigers in Hog Heaven

We've gotten to know Mike Anderson and Frank Haith quite well in the last eight years.

Anderson was Missouri's coach for five years.

Haith is now in his third year with Missouri.

We also know this --- these guys have less success on the road than a hitchhiker wearing a hockey mask and holding a chain saw.

And the chain saw is running.

Anderson has his 40 Minutes of Hell. Sometimes, the "H" word was certainly on the opponents. Other times, it was certainly that for Tiger fans who watched it.

Then we have Haith's 40 Minutes of We're Not Really Sure What We're Watching ... but go Tigers!!! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Different approaches with two very common threads -- under both, their teams have been very good at home, very lousy on the road.

At least on this night, however, you can tear up the script.

Showing unusual moxie away from home, the Missouri Tigers used an 8-0 run down the stretch to knock off the Razorbacks 75-71 Tuesday night in Fayetteville, Ark.

Hog Heaven for the Tigers.

"It was one heck of a game," Haith said. "I'm proud of our guys, how we competed, stayed with it, and embraced the opportunity.

"From top to bottom, it was a great, great team victory."

It was indeed.

While Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross both scored 24 points, it was the effort on the boards that won this battle --- Johnathan Williams III snagged 12 rebounds and Ryan Rosburg had nine, as Missouri held a bulky 42-26 advantage on the boards.

"It was a great, great effort by those guys," Haith said of Williams and Rosburg. "They're working hard and we just want them to do what they do and stay in their element.

"The production out of those guys was huge tonight."

The first 39 minutes served as an appetizer to the finish. The Tigers led by as many as 10 in the first half, before taking a 36-34 lead into the break.

Tied late at 64, Ross canned a 3-pointer off an assist from Jordan Clarkson with 1:09 left that kick-started the game-winning 8-0 run. While Clarkson scored just 11 points, seven points under his average, but he had a team-high five assists, including this dish to Ross.

"His scoring wasn't there tonight," Haith said of Clarkson, "but he had five assists that were huge for us. His floor game was outstanding."

Said Clarkson: "We had big-time players making big-time shots. When those guys are hot, we just want to keep going to them.

"We know last time on the road (a 77-71 loss at LSU) we just didn't finish plays, we didn't finish the game. When we came in here, we knew what we had to do to get the win."

Like making free throws --- the Tigers went 8-of-8 from the line in the final 46 seconds to seal the deal.

"We finished," Haith said.

This game served as the opening sentence for Missouri's postseason paragraph, which will lead them to either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. After going 3-3 against a six-pack of mediocre teams in the SEC, this was the start of a make or break stretch for Missouri.

This was a big win, to be sure. Next up, a series of more big games, starting at home against Kentucky on Saturday.

"That will be huge," Haith said. "But for now, we'll enjoy this one."

As they should, because this hasn't happened very often.