Sloppy in victory, UA sees answers

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

— One exhibition game didn’t answer all of Arkansas Coach Tom Collen’s questions about his team going into the season.

It did, however, give him a positive glimpse at all the ingredients.

Eleven players contributed at least 13 minutes and the Razorbacks used their pressure defense and quick-strike offense to overwhelm NAIA Rogers State 69-40 on Sunday at Walton Arena. Arkansas scored 38 points off 36 Rogers State turnovers, overcoming 37-percent shooting.

“There’s a lot of questions about this team,” Collen said. “I don’t know if we got all the answers today, but the good news is I think there are answers out there. There are players on this team with a ton of potential.”

Arkansas, which opens the season Friday at home against Jackson State, had four players score at least 10 points against Rogers State, from Claremore, Okla. Behind a full-court pressure defense, the Razorbacks scored 21 of their 30 first-half points off 18 Rogers State turnovers and used an 11-0 run early in the game to get all the cushion they would need.

“Our emphasis is going to be on defense,” said Arkansas senior forward Quistelle Williams, who led the Razorbacks with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting. “We are trying to be a defensive team and an offensive team, but we pride ourselves on our defense.”

That defense held Rogers State to 29.8 percent shooting and helped Arkansas get away with a lackluster offense which committed 18 turnovers and was only 8 of 26 on three pointers.

“No coach wants their team to play sloppy and 18 turnovers is way too many in an exhibition game against this team,” Collen said. “But when you’re rotating kids in and out every four to five minutes and they’re a little nervous out there trying to prove to me they deserve minutes, they get going a little faster than they’re ready to play right now.

Sports, Pages 15 on 11/05/2012