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.
Three-game week excites Hogs
NWA Media/ANDY SHUPE -- Arkansas sophomore guard Rashad Madden (00) pressures Longwood junior guard Tristan Carey after the ball was inbounded Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, during the first half of play in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE This figures to be a fun week for the Arkansas men’s basketball team. The Razorbacks are getting to enjoy having more games than practices.
Arkansas is in the midst of playing four games in a seven-day span in the Las Vegas Invitational after enduring a nine-day break between its first and second games.
“The games are fun,” Razorbacks sophomore guard BJ Young said. “Practices are hard work.
“We have to keep our focus in practice, keep our energy up. But in the game, that’s a given.”
The Razorbacks (2-0) play Florida A&M (0-3) at 7 tonight in Walton Arena after beating Longwood University 112-63 on Sunday. Then Arkansas plays away from home for the first time when the Razorbacks head to Las Vegas to face Arizona State on Friday night and either No. 14 Creighton or Wisconsin on Saturday night.
“We need to play games,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “We’ve been sitting and watching everybody play these tournaments.
“It’s our time to play, and our guys are anxious to play.”
Young said the Razorbacks are excited about this week’s hectic schedule and the quick turnarounds between games.
“Put us on the court, we’re ready,” Young said. “Coach A has us ready. This is what we’ve been working for the whole summer.”
The Razorbacks should have fresh legs tonight considering none of them played more than 20 minutes against Longwood. They had nine players score between 23 and five points.
“That’s the beauty of having the depth that we have,” Anderson said.
“Guys come in and they either maintain the level that we’re playing at or they increase it.”
Playing Florida A&M should help the Razorbacks gauge how they’ll match up against Arizona State because the Sun Devils beat the Rattlers 97-70 Sunday. Florida A&M also has lost on the road to Stetson 88-66 and Houston 81-76.
Anderson said the Razorbacks, who struggled to beat Sam Houston State 73-68 in their opener when Young was suspended, can’t afford to take any opponents for granted and need to be focused on Florida A&M.
“Obviously, with our basketball team, we can’t look at the names of teams,” Anderson said.
“We’re a team that’s just steadily trying to get better each and every outing. Just trying to control the things we can control.”
Arkansas freshman guard Anthlon Bell, who scored 16 points against Longwood, said Anderson has stressed to the players the need for high energy at all times.
“He always mentions energy level and bringing intensity every game no matter what team we’re playing,” Bell said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the [Los Angeles] Lakers or a middle school team. Just bring it. Bring it hard.”
Sports, Pages 22 on 11/20/2012