Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
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Orange punch too much for Hogs
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --11/30/2012-- Arkansas guard BJ Young is fouled by Syracuse defender DaJuan Coleman as he drives to the hoop during the first half of Friday night's game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Jim Boeheim’s 895th victory in 37 seasons as Syracuse’s coach didn’t come easily Friday night in Walton Arena.
“This is one of the toughest buildings I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a couple,” Boeheim said after the No. 6 Orange held off Arkansas to win 91-82 before an announced crowd of 19,259. “My guys are spent. They’re about as tired as they can be.
“Arkansas gets after you. They did an unbelievable job of pressuring us. You’ve got to attack it. You’re going to get some open shots, and it’s just a question of if you’re going to make them.”
Syracuse (5-0) shot 48.5 percent from the field (33 of 68) and got a career-high 35 points from senior forward James Southerland, who hit12 of 17 shots, including 9 of 13 three-pointers.
“That dude can shoot that ball,” Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell said. “He can shoot that ball for real, for real. A couple times, even when I thought I was there, he still hit it.”
Southerland came into the game averaging 15.3 points, but Boeheim said he benefited from the fast pace Friday night forced by the Razorbacks.
“You’re going to get 90 points against them,” Boeheim said. “You’ve just got to keep them from getting 100. They’re going to pressure you and trap, and we’ve got a good ball-handling team and get it down the court. We’re going to beat the pressure most of the time.
“There’s no such thing as being tired in a game like that. You’ve got to keep playing.”
Boeheim credited the Razorbacks - who got 25 points from sophomore guard BJ Young and 19 from Powell - with doing a good job of getting inside against the Syracuse zone. They scored 34 points in the paint and made 29 of 36 free throws, but hit 5 of 24 three-point attempts and finished at 38.7 percent shooting from the field (24 of 62) because of the struggles from the perimeter.
“You can only play defense for so long,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “We put so much pressure on our defense. You’ve got to be able to make shots and be able to make plays, and we didn’t.”
Anderson noted the Razorbacks attempted 12 more free throws than the Orange and forced 19 turnovers.
“Our guys competed,” Anderson said. “They just lost to a better team tonight.
“We did some good things, but you can’t shoot 38 percent and 20 percent from three point land against a team that’s playing zone. ... We’ve just got to do better job of knocking shots down.”
The Razorbacks (3-3) trailed 30-15 in the first half but pulled within 59-54 with 12:14 left with Southerland on the bench with four fouls.
Then Syracuse senior guard Brandon Triche scored 10 consecutive points, including back-to-back three-pointers, to push Syracuse’s lead to 69-56 at the 9:54 mark.
“He’s a senior,” Powell said. “He made big plays for his team, and that’s what leaders do.”
Triche and Syracuse sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams scored 17 points each. Carter-Williams also had 10 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals.
“It was an awesome, awesome environment,” Anderson said. “Not only did our fans show up, they showed out.
“I thought everyone was treated to a tremendous ballgame. Unfortunately, we came up on the short end of it, but it wasn’t because of a lack of effort. I thought our guys played with maximum effort.”
Young carried Arkansas in the first half with 19 points. Powell took over in the second half with 14 points.
“Young’s really good around the basket,” Boeheim said. “I’d hate to play him man-to-man. He’s pretty tough.
“Powell was real good in the second. He did a really good job inside our zone.”
Young finished 10 of 23 from the field.
“BJ did what he always does, scoring in a lot of ways,” Powell said. “He brought a lot of energy. He’s our go-to guy and he played like it tonight.”
Southerland was the Orange’s go-to guy, especially during a first-half stretch when he hit five consecutive three-pointers.
“I think we lost him at some times, but the guy was in zone,” Anderson said. “He was just catching it and letting it fly, and there were times our guys were in his face.
“That’s the key when you go on the road. You’ve got to be able to make shots, and they made shots.”
Sports, Pages 19 on 12/01/2012