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.
In the lane:
Not ready for that 20 something
Michigan head coach John Beilein watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arkansas in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Most fans watching Saturday’s Arkansas-Michigan game in Crisler Arena and on the CBS telecast had to be asking themselves: Who is Kikko Haydar?
Wolverines Coach John Beilein was wondering, too.
No. 3 Michigan beat the Razorbacks 80-67, but Haydar provided Arkansas with an unexpected spark off the bench, scoring a career-high 13 points in 19 minutes.
“I didn’t know who he was,” Beilein said. “I thought he walked in off the street.”
Haydar, a 5-10 junior walk-on guard from Fayetteville, hit 4 of 4 three pointers, including 3 of 3 in the first half.
“He wasn’t on our scouting report, but I know he’s going to be on the scouting report for the next game they play,” Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said.
“He had a great game for them. He’s got a nice shot.”
Haydar came into the game averaging 1.0 point in six games and has 31 points in 35 career games.
“I visualized coming into the game, and if they leave me open, I’m going to make them pay,” Haydar said. “I always like to say I have confidence in myself.
“Coach [Mike] Anderson has always told me to be patient and be ready, and it just happened for me today where I played well and hit some shots. ... But it’s about winning, and we didn’t win today.”
Haydar said his teammates deserve credit for helping him get open looks.
“They drive and then all the defense collapses,” he said. “I just stay outside, and they got me the ball.”
Haydar missed his only three-point attempt when he played four minutes in the Razorbacks’ 81-78 victory over Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
“He embodies what I’m all about, and that’s blue collar, hard-nosed work,” Anderson said. “... He’s a guy that when presented with the opportunity, he’s ready.”
Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell, who hit 4 of 6 three-pointers against Oklahoma on Tuesday, was 2 of 4 Saturday while scoring a game-high 18 points. He’s a combined 15 of 28 from the field in the past two games with several jump shots.
“I can shoot the ball, man,” Powell said. “I’ve just got to shoot it with confidence. If anybody gives me space, I’m going to let it go.”
Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. said he was impressed by Powell, who didn’t play against the Wolverines last season because of a knee injury.
“He’s definitely a tough player,” Hardaway said. “He’s got a nice pull-up game, and he can step out and knock down threes.”
Earlier this week, Michigan Coach John Beilein called Powell the best power forward Michigan had faced this season, and Powell didn’t do anything Saturday to change that opinion.
Powell seemed surprised by Beilein’s compliment.
“I’ve worked on my game a lot, especially coming back from the injury,” Powell said. “So if a coach thinks that highly of me, that tells me I’m going in the right direction.”
Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, who served as an administrator at Michigan for 10 years, attended Saturday’s game.
Long hasn’t been able to attend many basketball games during the football coaching search that ended earlier this week with the hiring of Bret Bielema, but he traveled to Ann Arbor for an opportunity to support the Arkansas basketball team and also visit with friends from his days at Michigan.
Long said he toured some of Michigan’s facilities, including the Wolverines’ basketball practice facility.
Arkansas will be building a practice facility in the near future.
“I spent some great years here, and they prepared me for what I’m doing now,” Long said.
Arkansas’ AD said he liked what he saw on the court from the Razorbacks.
“We’re got a young team, and there’s no question Mike [Anderson] is getting our team better,” Long said. “By the end of the year, we’ll create a lot of problems for people.
“I couldn’t be more excited about where Mike’s taking our team.”
Not ready yet
Arkansas’ four freshmen combined to play 10 minutes Saturday: Michael Qualls (6), Anthlon Bell (3), Jacorey Williams (1) and Dee Wagner (0).
“We had some young guys that I didn’t play because it’s tough to play on the road in this kind of environment,” Anderson said.
Sports, Pages 26 on 12/09/2012