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.
Hogs succumb to rules of road, foul-free zone
Arkansas guard BJ Young (11) reaches in and fouls Michigan guard Trey Burke (3)during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Arkansas shot 75 percent from the free-throw line Saturday at No. 3 Michigan, but that didn’t do the Razorbacks much good considering they were only 3 of 4.
Michigan pulled away to win 80-67 before a sellout crowd of 12,693 at Crisler Arena, hitting 15 of 18 free throws along the way.
“My mind is still kind of boggled because of the discrepancy in free throws,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “I mean, we shot four free throws, and two of them were because of a technical foul. I find that kind of hard to believe, especially when we’re an attacking team, but I guess that’s life on the road.”
The Razorbacks (4-4), playing on an opponent’s court for the first time this season, came into the game averaging 27.3 free-throw attempts.
“I thought it was a well officiated game,” Michigan Coach John Beilein said.
Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell, who led Arkansas with 18 points, couldn’t explain the Razorbacks shooting only four free throws.
“You tell me, man?” Powell said with a laugh. “Was it officiating? Maybe. Or was it us not attacking enough? Maybe. I feel like we played aggressive and played hard.
“Of course, we’re not looking for things to go our way as much as they do at home.”
The Razorbacks never led Saturday, but they pulled within one point twice in the second half - 54-53 on Rickey Scott’s three-pointer and 56-55 on Scott’s driving basket - after the Wolverines (9-0) led by as many 13 points in the first half. Then Michigan outscored Arkansas 16-6, a streak started by Nik Stauskas’ three point basket, to push its lead to 72-61 with 2:15 left and take control.
“Much like last year, I think the speed of the game can wear you down a little bit, but when we had to make choices of whether to give into fatigue or keep on fighting, we kept on fighting,” Beilein said. “They’re a tough team for us to match up with. We don’t see as much of their style in the Big Ten.
“I think Arkansas has got the potential to be a very good team. I’m glad we came out on top of that one.”
Michigan junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said Arkansas’ comeback Saturday reminded him of last year’s game at Walton Arena, when the Razorbacks held on to beat the Wolverines 66-64 after taking a 19-point lead in the first half.
“Last year we came back and had a chance to win, and this time it was them coming back on us,” Hardaway said. “They took our best blow when we were there, and we took their best blow here today.”
Arkansas stayed in the game by hitting 10 of 17 three pointers - including junior walk-on guard Kikko Haydar going 4 of 4 - but Michigan out rebounded the Razorbacks 42-26. Michigan junior forward Josh Morgan had 12 points and 10 rebounds, with 6 on the offensive end.
Michigan had 18 offensive rebounds to offset a season low 44.3 percent shooting from the field.
“They took to the glass,” Anderson said. “We made them shoot 44 percent, and they’re a team that shoots over 50 percent. So I thought our defense was effective, but the finishing part of defense is you’ve got to rebound the basketball and we didn’t do a good job.
“That’s the department we’ve got to clean up. If we clean that just halfway in this game, then maybe - maybe - we get to the free-throw line. Then the game changes.”
Arkansas got its first free throw attempts with 6:00 left when Coty Clarke hit two shots to cut Michigan’s lead to 64-57. Haydar hit 1 of 2 technical foul free throws with 25seconds left after sophomore point guard Trey Burke was called for hanging on the rim after a dunk gave the Wolverines an 80-64 lead.
Freshman forward Glenn Robinson III led Michigan with 17 points. Burke had 16 points, Hardaway Jr. 14 and Stauskas 12.
“Their key players stepped up when they had to, but I thought our guys battled,” Anderson said. “We had a chance to go away, but we didn’t. Some adversity took place, and our guys hung in there.”
Arkansas sophomore guard BJ Young, averaging 19.5 points coming into the game, was held to a season-low 9 points in 28 minutes on 4-of-10 shooting. He went to the bench for part of the second half after sustaining a leg injury on a drive to the basket when he drew contact but not a foul call.
“I think he got popped pretty good there,” Anderson said. “I think he probably has a bruise. I think he just collided with somebody.”
Scott and Hunter Mickelson scored 10 points each for the Razorbacks.
“Early in the game they were running their offense and running their sets, and running them pretty efficiently,” Anderson said. “In the second half, our defense really got after them and our pressure was effective.
“I thought it enabled us to get them out of rhythm and get ourselves back in the game.”
But the Razorbacks couldn’t take a lead.
“Once you get a lead, it changes the whole complexion of the game,” Anderson said. “It just seemed like we were still steadily going uphill, but we were right there in the thick of it.”
Sports, Pages 21 on 12/09/2012