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 takes one for team
NWA Media/ANDY SHUPE -- Arkansas coach Mike Anderson directs his team against Longwood Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, during the first half of play in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE Hunter Mickelson set an Arkansas freshman record with 72 blocked shots last season, but there was another defensive stat where Coach MIke Anderson said he turned in a zero.
Anderson made it a point Sunday after Arkansas’ 112-63 victory over Longwood University to praise Mickelson for taking his first college charge. It happened with 54 seconds left in the first half, when Mickelson stood his ground in the lane as Longwood guard David Robinson slammed into him.
Mickelson fell hard on the court, but drew the foul from Robinson to get Arkansas possession of the ball, forcing one of the Lancers’ 28 turnovers.
“That’s huge for a big guy to do that,” Anderson said. “That tells me guys are grasping the philosophy, the concept of what we’re all about.”
The Razorbacks reached 100 points in a regular season game for the first time in three years, a span of 95 games. The last time came on Nov. 13, 2009, when Arkansas beat Alcorn State 130-68 - led by Rotnei Clark’s school-record 51 points.
Arkansas had six dunks in the second half, including a reverse slam by Marshawn Powell after the 6-7 junior made a steal and went to the basket on a breakaway.
It was nice for the Razorbacks to see Powell cut loose after he missed all but the first two games last season after tearing ligaments in his right knee.
“He told me he had that planned for me whenever he got a chance,” Arkansas guard BJ Young said of Powell’s reverse dunk. “Last game he almost had one, but he didn’t get the steal. This game he got a chance to do some little flair.
“It’s great to see Marshawn back on the court and playing. ... He’s still progressing in every way he can.”
Arkansas’ reserves scored 58 points Sunday compared to 54 by the starters.
“It was very encouraging,” Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said. “The best component of our basketball team is going to be our bench.
“Hopefully, the guys starting out will do what they are capable of doing, but for us to be a total team it’s going to require our guys coming off the bench giving us great minutes.”
Freshman guard Anthlon Bell scored 16 points off the bench. Junior guard Rickey Scott scored 12 points, followed by freshman forwards Jacorey Williams (11) and Michael Qualls (10).
Junior forward Coty Clarke had a team-high 10 rebounds.
“Pretty good depth, obviously,” Longwood Coach Gillian said of the Razorbacks. “Their whole team was good.
“Those guys play the right way, play hard and force you into mistakes.
They have an identity, move well without the ball offensively and it is just going to be a very good year here probably.”
Longwood, which is located in Farmville, Va., joined the Big South Conference this season in its ninth year playing at the NCAA Division I level.
The Lancers have had to play a lot of games away from home in that span, and they fell to 13-115 in road games with their loss to the Razorbacks.
“That is a different level for us,” Longwood Coach Mike Gillian said of facing Arkansas. “We have an inexperienced group that should take a lot away from this.
“We aren’t going to face too many teams with the athletic ability to play that style.”
Arkansas became the 33rd state in which the Lancers have played since moving up Division I.
Where’s The Strip?
The Arkansas-Longwood game played in Walton Arena actually was an opener for the Las Vegas Invitational, which involves eight teams.
Arkansas plays Florida A&M Tuesday night in Walton Arena in a second round game, then will play in Las Vegas for the final two rounds. The Razorbacks play Arizona State Friday night, then will play either Creighton or Wisconsin Saturday night.
Sports, Pages 17 on 11/19/2012