Powell rises to the occasion

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012
Marshawn Powell scored 19 points and had 7 rebounds in Arkansas' loss to Syracuse.
Photo by Michael Woods
Marshawn Powell scored 19 points and had 7 rebounds in Arkansas' loss to Syracuse.

— After Mike Anderson addressed his team Friday night in the wake of No. 6 Syracuse’s 91-82 victory over the Razorbacks in Walton Arena, it was junior forward Marshawn Powell’s turn to do some talking.

“That was an encouraging sign,” Anderson said. “Marshawn went around and tapped each and every guy saying, ‘Hey, man, we’re going to be OK. Let’s stay in it.’ ”

The Razorbacks (3-3) have lost three consecutive games, including two in Las Vegas last weekend to Arizona State 83-68 and to Wisconsin 77-70, but Anderson said he doesn’t believe his players have lost confidence.

“Our guys are starting to believe,” Anderson said. “They’re believing in each other. They competed against a very talented Syracuse team.”

Sophomore g uard BJ Young led the Razorbacks with 25 points. He drew a technical foul for hanging on the rim on a dunk, though a Syracuse player was under the basket on the play.

“BJ Young gave us everything he had,” Anderson said. “As I told him, sometimes his emotions get into it so much, but he has got to be able to channel those in.”

Powell had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in 28 minutes after being limited to a combined 37 minutes against Arizona State and Wisconsin because of foul problems.

“You saw Marshawn look like he’s getting into a better flow,” Anderson said.

Powell had two fouls against Syracuse and hit 5 of 10 field-goal attempts and 9 of 10 free throws while doing a good job of working inside the Orange’s zone defense in a big-game atmosphere with a crowd of 19,259 in Walton Arena and ESPN televising the game nationally.

“It felt pretty good, but I know I could have played a lot better,” Powell said of his comeback from knee surgery. “So that’s what I’m just going to focus on, working more and coming back even better.”

Syracuse (5-0) broke Arkansas’ 25-game nonconference winning streak in Walton Arena. The Razorbacks hadn’t lost a home nonconference game since losing to No. 2 Texas 96-85 on Jan. 9, 2010.

“The guys were disappointed without a doubt,” Anderson said. “They wanted this game here.”

The Razorbacks are in the midst of one of the toughest nonconference stretches they’ve ever played. They play Oklahoma in Walton Arena on Tuesday night, then play at No. 3 Michigan on Saturday.

“I feel like we’re learning a lot,” Powell said. “It’s going to get us ready for our conference play.”

Sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson has started every game this season, and he started both halves against Syracuse but played just 11 minutes and finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds with 2 turnovers.

“He was OK healthwise,” Anderson said. “I thought some guys were playing a little bit better. ... Hopefully, we’ll him get more and more minutes, because I think he’s a tough matchup.”

Sports, Pages 32 on 12/02/2012