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.
Opener easy for Arkansas
Arkansas forward Coty Clarke (4) blocks a shot by Southwest Baptist forward Jaywuan Hill during the second half of Friday’s game at Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Arkansas won 106-78.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas freshman guard Anthlon Bell scored 17 points in 14 minutes off the bench in the Razorbacks’ 106-78 victory over Southwest Baptist in their exhibition opener Friday night at Walton Arena before an announced crowd of 4,800.
For Bell, it was all about making the most of his playing time as preached constantly by Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson.
“Coach always says when you get out there, play quality minutes, and that’s what I look forward to doing,” Bell said. “When I’m out there, I don’t want to just waste time, just to be another man out there.
“I want to make an impact.”
Bell had a sudden impact, slashing toward the basket and getting fouled less than a minute after entering the game in the first half and hitting two free throws. He finished 6 of 8 from the field, including 3 of 3 on three-pointers.
“He was flaming it out tonight,” Arkansas freshman forward Michael Qualls said.
“I thought Anthlon played the game the right way,” Anderson said. “Our guys did a good job of finding him ... They understand what he brings to the table.”
Bell averaged 25 points at Bartlett (Tenn.) High School last season. He hit 5 of 8 three pointers in the Red-White intrasquad game Tuesday night.
“Obviously, he’s going to be a nice player for Arkansas,” Southwest Baptist Coach Jeff Guiot said. “He’s a handful.
“If he keeps buying in and keeps working and keeps wanting to improve, the sky’s the limit for him. He’s probably going to go through some freshman growing pains, but there are a lot of people that would love to have him on their team, I can tell you that.”
Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 16 minutes as he continued his comeback from last year’s knee surgery.
“You can just see he brings a presence that we’re going to need,” Anderson said.
Junior guard Rickey Scott and sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson scored 11 points each. Qualls had 10 points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard BJ Young scored nine.
Southwest Baptist, an NCAA Division II school from Bolivar, Mo., was led by Gilbert Gyamfi’s 12 points.
Young, an All-SEC pick as a freshman, played off the bench as Anderson went with a starting lineup of Powell, Scott, Mickelson, sophomore guard Ky Madden and junior guard Mardracus Wade.
“Young’s a nice weapon to bring off the bench,” Guiot said. “That says a lot for a player of his ability to do that.”
It was a familiar role for Young, who started just seven of 32 games last season, when he averaged 15.3 points to lead Arkansas in scoring. He entered Friday night’s game along with Bell, Qualls, junior college transfer Coty Clarke and freshman Dee Wagner.
“I thought the first group did a good job of setting the tone from a defensive standpoint and sharing the basketball and taking advantage of the size that we had, and the athletic ability,” Anderson said. “Then I thought BJ did a good job of igniting and leading that young group. That’s what I wanted to see.”
Arkansas used an 11-0 run, including two inside baskets by Powell and a three-point play by sophomore Ky Madden, to take a 15-3 lead with 14:50 left in the first half. Scott hit two free throws to push the Razorbacks’ lead to 42-18 at the 4:21 mark of the half.
Qualls had a dunk after a Young miss with two seconds left in the first half to give the Razorbacks a 50-28 lead.
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/03/2012