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.
Powell powers offense
NWA Media/ANTHONY REYES -- Arkansas junior Marshawn Powell (33) drives to the basket as Florida A&M senior Markee Teal defends in the first half Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell must be getting pretty close to 100 percent healthy.
Powell, a redshirt junior who missed all but the first two games last season after tearing ligaments in his right knee, looked like his old self Tuesday night when he had season highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes to lead the Razorbacks to an 89-60 victory over Florida A&M at Walton Arena before an announced crowd of 6,450.
“I had a double-double?” Powell said. “I didn’t even know I had that. I just play hard and try my best.
“I feel like if I take one play off, it’s hurting my team in some kind of way. So I just play as hard as I can, and what I get at the end of the day is what I get.”
Powell made 8 of 14 shots, including 4 dunks, and 5 of 6 free throws.
“I’m pretty sure that brings back memories from his freshman year,” Arkansas junior forward Rickey Scott said, referring to Powell’s All-SEC debut season. “Now he’s going to continue to develop his game from here on.”
Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said Powell “was the recipient of some nice passes” on his dunks.
“It was good to see him go to the basket with that kind of aggressiveness,” Anderson said. “It’s good to see him continue to get the confidence that we all know Marshawn is always capable of having.”
Florida A&M Coach Clemon Johnson, who played 10 seasons in the NBA as a center, said every team needs a player who can score inside and get to free-throw line as Powell did against the Rattlers.
“He’s a beast down there,” Johnson said. “I was totally impressed with what I saw tonight.”
Powell scored four consecutive baskets to help Arkansas (3-0) jump out to a 17-6 lead against Florida A&M (0-4). The Razorbacks pushed the lead to 49-31 going into halftime.
The Rattlers, who were led by junior guard Reggie Lewis’ 15 points, pulled to within 55-44 with 15:15 left. The Razorbacks then went on an 13-0 run, including four points by Powell, to push their lead to 68-44 at the 10:14 mark.
Scott finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals, sophomore guard BJ Young had 12 pints, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and junior guard Mardracus Wade had 11 points. Junior forward Coty Clarke added 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals and sophomore guard Ky Madden had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
“We had a lot of guys play well,” Anderson said.
While it was Powell’s best game of the season, he said he’s still not “completely” back. He estimated he is still about 95 percent.
“I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but I think he’s progressing in the right direction,” Anderson said. “You’ll know when he’s 100 percent, and I think he’s getting closer and closer to it.
“This is only three games into the season. There’s a lot of basketball in front of us, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/21/2012