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.
ARKANSAS MEN’S BASKETBALL:
Hogs rout foe despite suspension
Arkansas sophomore Hunter Mickelson shoots over LeMoyne-Owen’s Edwin Shorter during the first half of Monday’s exhibition game. Mickelson had nine points and the Razorbacks won 111-45.
FAYETTEVILLE The Arkansas Razorbacks showed Monday night they’ve got a lot more going for them this season than BJ Young, their sophomore All-SEC guard.
With Young sitting on the bench in street clothes while serving the first of a two-game suspension for violating team rules, the Razorbacks routed LeMoyne-Owen College 111-45 in an exhibition game before an announced crowd of 3,185 at Walton Arena.
“You take away one thing, we’ll get you with another thing,” said Arkansas junior forward Coty Clarke, who had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. “Anybody can step up at any point in time.”
Anderson announced Young’s suspension a few minutes before tip off, stating in a news release, “I hold my players to a high standard both on and off the court. BJ fell short of those standards and as a result has been suspended for two games. He will continue to practice and be a part of all team activities during the suspension.”
Anderson after the game declined to comment specifically on what Young - who also will miss Friday night’s season opener against Sam Houston State - did to be suspended, but he liked how the Razorbacks responded to their star player’s absence.
“That’s the great thing about our team, we’ve got depth now,” Anderson said. “So it’s an opportunity for some other guys to step up. We’ve got a lot of different guys that can score in different ways.”
Freshman forwards Michael Qualls and Jacorey Williams each scored 15 points. Qualls had two dunks off of alley-oop assists by freshman guard Dee Wagner, including a one-handed slam that brought the fans to their feet.
Qualls also had eight rebounds and five assists, including a pass off the backboard to Williams for a layup that put the Razorbacks ahead 100-38 with 6:26 left.
“What can you say about Qualls?” Anderson said. “This guy just plays the game with such passion and competitiveness. ... He seems like he goes as high as he has to. That’s a God-given gift.
“Now as you see us get more into what we do, you’ll see him showcase that more. His athletic ability is kind of off the charts.”
The Razorbacks shot 52.7 percent from the field (39 of 74) and scored 44 points off 30 LeMoyne-Owen turnovers. They out rebounded the Magicians - an NCAA Division II team from Memphis - 62-28 and held them to 25.8 percent shooting (17 of 66).
“We did a lot of good things,” Anderson said. “We shot the ball well, we pushed the ball, we attacked. When you talk about the recipe for playing up-tempo basketball, that was it.”
Arkansas took an 18-0lead to open the game, then after LeMoyne-Owen closed within 32-17, the Razorbacks outscored the Magicians 24-2 the final 4:09 of the first half - including nine points by Qualls and two three-pointers by Wagner - to push their lead to 56-19.
The Razorbacks never let up defensively, as they had Friday night when they beat Southwest Baptist 106-78 but outscored the Bearcats just 56-50 in the second half.
Wagner had 13 points and junior guard Rickey Scott and freshman guard Anthlon Bell had 11 points each. Sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson had 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots and junior forward Marshawn Powell had 7 points and 5 rebounds. Sophomore guard Ky Madden didn’t score, but had seven assists and three steals.
About the only stat Anderson could complain about was his team’s free throw shooting as the Razorbacks hit 23 of 36 attempts.
“The one glaring thing we didn’t do well was free throws,” Anderson said. “That’s something we have to continue to emphasize, because we’re going to attack.”
STARS Arkansas junior forward Coty Clarke (15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists), freshman forwards Michael Qualls (15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) and Jacorey Williams (15 points, 7 rebounds) and freshman guard Dee Wagner (13 points, 3 assists, 2 steals)
TURNING POINT Arkansas took an 18-0 lead to open the game.
KEY STAT The Razorbacks outscored Le-Moyne-Owen 50-14 on points in the paint.
UP NEXT Arkansas opens regular-season play against Sam Houston State at 7 p.m. Friday in Walton Arena.
QUOTABLE “That’s the great thing about our team, we’ve got depth now. So it’s an opportunity for some other guys to step up. We’ve got a lot of different guys that can score in different ways.” - Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson after Monday’s game, in which 13 Razorbacks players saw action
Sports, Pages 15 on 11/06/2012