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:
Mickelson, Young hit the boards
University of Arkansas forward Hunter Mickelson and Northwestern State forward DeQuan Hicks fight for a rebound the first half of Saturday night's game. Mickelson and BJ Young both finished with a 13 rebounds, a career high for each player.
FAYETTEVILLE Rebounding has been a problem area for Arkansas, but BJ Young and Hunter Mickelson helped it be a strength for the Razorbacks on Saturday night.
Young and Mickelson each had career highs of 13 rebounds as Arkansas beat Northwestern (La.) State 79-61.
“It’s 2013 coming up, so we just wanted 13 apiece,” Young said.
The previous high for Young, a 6-3 sophomore guard, was 11 rebounds against Utah Valley last season.
“BJ was rebounding in traffic, pushing the ball from coast to coast,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.
“It’s in him to rebound.
“He was around the ball a lot, and hats off to him. He’s continuing to round out his game. Some of the better guards in the country, those guys rebound the basketball, and BJ is athletic enough he’s capable of doing it.”
Mickelson, a 6-10 sophomore, had a previous high of eight rebounds against Grambling State last season.
The Razorbacks, who came into the game with a minus-0.9 rebound margin, out rebounded the Demons 57-41.
“Coach told the guards to go help the bigs crash,” Young said. “Hopefully, I can keep rebounding like that throughout the rest of the season.”Good second half
Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell scored all nine of his points in the second half. He was 0 of 1 from the field in the first half, when he played six minutes because he had two fouls.
“When he plays, he’s effective,” Coach Mike Anderson said.
Sophomore guard Ky Madden sustained an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t play for the Razorbacks in the second half.
“He’s a little gimpy right now,” Coach Mike Anderson said. “But we’ve got a week before we play, so hopefully we can get him back at full speed.
“Because we’re going to need him. He’s an experienced guy, and we’re going to need his basketball IQ out there on the floor.”
Arkansas doesn’t play again until next Saturday against Delaware State.
Razorbacks junior guard Mardracus Wade scored a season-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, but Coach Mike Anderson was more impressed by Wade’s four steals. He had two steals that led to layups in the first three minutes, helping the Razorbacks jump out to a 6-2 lead.
Wade had 14 points in the previous game against Alabama A&M.
“He’s starting to put games together,” Anderson said. “Our guys are doing a good job of getting the ball to him, but it’s his defense I’m more proud of.
“I think he’s got a chance to be one of the better defensive guards in our conference, but it’s got to be a mind-set.”
About the Aggies?
Arkansas opens SEC play at Texas A&M, where Northwestern State lost 78-65 earlier this season.
“Texas A&M will try and slow Arkansas down and control tempo,” Demons Coach Mike McConathy said. “But I think Arkansas has enough weapons to create a lot of problems for Texas A&M because of getting the ball in transition and making things happen.”
Vs. the Southland
Arkansas improved to 35-3 all-time against teams currently in the Southland Conference, including 8-1 against Northwestern State.
The Razorbacks are 9-2 against Oral Roberts, 4-0 against Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin and Southeastern Louisiana, 3-0 against Sam Houston State and 1-0 against Lamar, McNeese State and Nicholls State.
Dave the Demon
Arkansas baseball Coach Dave Van Horn was the halftime guest on Northwestern State’s radio broadcast. Van Horn was the Demons’ coach for three seasons from 1995-1997 and had a 106-65 record with two conference championships.
He left Northwestern State for Nebraska before coming to Arkansas.
Both the Razorbacks and Demons played foreign tours in August. The Razorbacks went 4-0 in Italy, and the Demons went 4-0 in Canada. The exhibition tours also allowed each team to get in 10 extra practices.
So what did Northwestern State Coach Mike McConathy say when he was hit with a technical foul in the first half?
“I didn’t say anything,” McConathy said. “[The official] said one of my assistants said something.
“It’s unfortunate that happened. We’ve just got to work on our bench decorum.”
McConathy said he believed the assistant who was called for the technical said something about “Please watch traveling,” but that the official had a different version.
“Of course, that’s not what the official said he said,” McConathy said. “But I can’t divulge that.”
Sports, Pages 26 on 12/30/2012