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.
Anderson expects a go-Hogs-go performance
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson, beginning his second season with the men’s basketball team, will have more players to plug into his up-tempo, pressing style of play.
FAYETTEVILLE Don’t expect to see any shot-clock violations tonight when Arkansas plays its second exhibition game against LeMoyne College, an NCAA Division II team from Memphis.
Tipoff is 7 p.m. in Walton Arena.
LeMoyne likes to press, Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said, just like the Razorbacks.
“Trust me it will be uptempo,” Anderson said. “We like that. It gives us another gauge for how our guys will come out and perform.”
Anderson wants to see the Razorbacks push the tempo as they did in their exhibition opener, when they beat Southwest Baptist 106-78 last Friday night.
Arkansas used 14 players, with individual playing time ranging from 4 to 19 minutes.
“You saw some different pieces that I’ve talked about,” Anderson said. “Now we’ve just got to continue to work and work and put it together.
“If they continue to do the things they ask them to do, they have a chance to really develop and become a team that people are going to have to reckon with.”
Freshman guard Anthlon Bell led the Razorbacks with 17 points in 14 minutes against Southwest Baptist.
“I think they’ve got a good group of young talent,” Southwest Baptist Coach Jeff Guiot said. “Coach Anderson is gradually putting together the old Arkansas teams that he helped Nolan Richardson build.
“They’re quick. They’ve got a lot of depth. They’re young and trying to get on the same page, but you can tell they’re going to be good.”
Guiot coached Jannero Pargo at Neosho (Kan.) County Junior College, so he has a good sense for what Arkansas looks for in its style of play. Pargo, now with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, transferred from Neosho County to Arkansas and played two seasons for the Razorbacks when Richardson was their head coach and Anderson an assistant.
“If this team buys into what MIke is preaching, I believe their ceiling is pretty high,” Guiot said. “Right now they probably can compete with anybody in the SEC, but it’s matter of consistency and trying to get guys on the same page and getting better. That’s really going to determine who gets to the NCAA Tournament out of this conference and who doesn’t.”
Arkansas will be looking for more consistency on defense tonight than it showed against Southwest Baptist. The Razorbacks held the Bearcats to 32.1 percent shooting (9 of 28) and forced 16 turnovers in the first half to take a 50-28 lead, but Southwest Baptist shot 53.8 percent in the second half (21 of 39) when it played Arkansas within 56-50.
“The second half when we had that lead, it’s a hard to stayed zoned in,” Anderson said. “Those young guys are going to try impress, and most young guys are going to try impress you with their offense.
“But I thought at times we did a good job getting them out of rhythm and making them take tough shots.”
The Razorbacks scored 52 points in the paint and hit 24 of 26 free throws. They scored 31 points off turnovers.
“We’re going to attack you on defense and we certainly want to attack you on offense,” Anderson said. “I like easy buckets.”
Tonight is Arkansas’ final exhibition before opening the regular season against Sam Houston State Friday night. How the Razorbacks play tonight, and continue to practice this week, will determine the rotation.
“I always think you win games in practice, and that’s where the competition takes place,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to be on your game. If not, you may be sitting over there watching. Your minutes can evaporate and go to somebody else.
“When you’ve got that on your team, that’s good. It keeps guys sharp.”
At a glance ARKANSAS MEN’S BASKETBALL VS LEMOYNE COLLEGE WHAT Exhibition game WHEN 7 tonight WHERE Walton Arena TICKETS $25 RADIO Razorbacks Sports Network
Sports, Pages 15 on 11/05/2012