User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Portis assuming lead role for Hogs

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Bobby Portis could hardly leave the Bud Walton Arena court and it had nothing to do with being tired.

He had to stop several times on his way back to the locker room Wednesday night. There were pictures to take with fans, congratulations to soak in after setting Arkansas' freshman record with 35 points in the Razorbacks' 65-58 win over Alabama.

Even for player uncomfortable at times with receiving more attention or praise than his teammates, there was no escaping the spotlight for Portis.

And the rest of the Razorbacks were fine with that - especially after watching their freshman standout all but single-handedly carry Arkansas (14-8, 3-6 Southeastern Conference) to a much-needed win.

Portis' record-setting night, one that's been expected for much of the season for the former McDonald's All-American, helped the Razorbacks snap a stretch in which they had lost four of five games. It also came on a night when the rest of his teammates were a combined 8 of 40 (20 percent) from the field and in desperate need of help.

''From start to finish, Bobby had it going,'' sophomore Jacorey Williams said. ''And we kept getting it to him. As team players, you've got to be a team player and keep getting it to the hot man, and that's what we did. And he helped us get the victory.''

Whether Portis' career-best performance, which came on 14-of-17 shooting and included nine rebounds and six blocks, is enough to save the Razorbacks' slim NCAA tournament hopes has yet to be seen. What is sure is the 6-foot-10 forward provided one of the brightest spots in an otherwise dim season for Arkansas, which travels to Vanderbilt (13-8, 5-4) on Saturday.

''We needed it tremendously,'' senior Mardracus Wade said. ''We've been struggling here lately, so we needed a boost, just a little lift of confidence, and that's what he provided us.''

Portis, who leads the Razorbacks in scoring at 13.3 points per game after Wednesday's outburst, wanted little to do with any talk of personal accolades after his breakout performance - repeatedly saying he didn't care about the scoring record or scoring in general.

That team-first attitude was nothing new for the player who led his Little Rock Hall team in high school to four straight state championships. Portis, who was clearly the best player on his high school team, often was comfortable serving as a facilitator rather than dominant force.

''I just go with the flow in the game, really,'' Portis said. ''If I'm hot, I'm hot. If I'm not, I'm going to do other things to help my ballclub. I really don't care about scoring; I'm just trying to help my team in any way possible so we can get these wins.''

Portis admitted that Arkansas' recent string of losses had caused him to break down in tears.

It's exactly that kind of passion that has made coach Mike Anderson a Portis fan, both during the recruiting process and in their first season together.

''It's very refreshing,'' Anderson said. ''He's a hungry and humble kid. He wants to be not just a good player; he wants to be a great player.''

Portis scored 29 of Arkansas' first 35 points against the Crimson Tide, a point at which he was 12 of 15 from the field - while his teammates were a combined 1 of 25. He set the school record for most points in a game by a freshman with a pair of free throws with 18.6 seconds remaining, putting the Razorbacks up 63-58 and all but securing the win.

The previous mark was held by Scotty Thurman, who scored 34 points twice during the 1992-93 season - one year before helping the Razorbacks to the school's only national championship.

Thurman is now a member of Arkansas' basketball support staff, and he had a front row seat for Portis' effort. He's also known Portis since the Little Rock native was in sixth grade, and while he was proud of the performance, he couldn't help but give the freshman some good-natured grief on Thursday - along with some added motivation.

''I told him I did it on the road; I did it twice,'' Thurman said. ''So, hopefully that will be something he can do on the road.''

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

News: Challenge Props posted
Huskies' China trip includes class work
Vols try to success without natural PG
Cardinals assistant Willard takes leave
Kentucky F Willis to miss two weeks
SMU will not appeal Brown suspension
Former UCLA player Meyers dies at 62
Illini lose Black for 4-6 weeks
Minnesota approves $166M Athletes Village
Why Buy Picks From
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records Gold Membership
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 927
Chip Chirimbes + 865
Brian Edwards + 764
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Chip Chirimbes 54 %
Scott Pritchard 54 %
Stephen Nover 53 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1337
Brian Edwards + 1195
John Fisher + 994
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 792
Antony Dinero + 700
Andy Iskoe + 654
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The SportsBoss + 612
Joe Williams + 248
Jim Feist + 183
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership