Missouri recruited Jimmy Whitt hard.
Whitt, a freshman guard for Arkansas, played his high school basketball at Columbia-Hickman, which is 2 1/2 miles from Mizzou Arena.
Ultimately, his close relationship with former Tigers coach Mike Anderson — among other considerations — led him to Fayetteville, Ark.
Whitt responded to what could have been a nerve-racking homecoming with a career-high 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting with three rebounds in 20 minutes as the Razorbacks beat Missouri 94-61 on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.
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“It’s a great feeling just to come in here and get a win, first and foremost,” Whitt said. “For me to be able to contribute to the team like I did, I feel like it’s a big confidence boost going into further games. … For (a career high) to happen tonight on a night like it did when I came home, it’s pretty special.”
Whitt, who had 20 family members and several former teammates in attendance, started the season’s first 10 games and scored in double figures in five of the Razorbacks’ first six to open the season.
His production declined from there, bottoming out with a scoreless performance in a season-low 10 minutes Saturday against Mississippi State.
Obviously, Whitt bounced back well.
“I thought he really did a great job, playing within himself …,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “He made some good plays tonight. I give him credit.”
By the numbers
1: Home losses worse than 33 points in Missouri basketball history — a 74-38 defeat Jan. 13, 1945, against Iowa Pre-Flight
33: Arkansas’ margin of victory, which was the largest by any visiting team in the history of Mizzou Arena, which opened in 2004.
94: Points scored by Arkansas, the most by any visitor in Mizzou Arena history.