Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Powell’s presence meaningful for UA
A resurgent Marshawn Powell helped launch second-year Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks to a 3-0 start defeating Sam Houston State, Longwood and Florida A&M at Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE For the Arkansas men’s basketball team, having Marshawn Powell limited by foul trouble is better than having him sit out a season from major surgery.
Arkansas’ All-SEC Freshman team forward in 2009-2010 sat out the 2011-2012 season severely injuring his knee two games into the season.
A resurgent Powell helped launch second-year Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks to a 3-0 start defeating Sam Houston State, Longwood and Florida A&M at Walton Arena.
However, the Razorbacks are 3-2 now. They lost, 83-68 and 77-70 last Friday and Saturday to Arizona State and Wisconsin, respectively, at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Powell fell into early foul trouble both games. Against Arizona State, the fourth-year junior logged only 18 minutes hitting 1 of 6 from the field for 2 points with 5 rebounds.
Against Wisconsin, Powell fouled out in 19 minutes, finishing with 8 points with 3 rebounds. His fourth foul early in the second half came not battling on the boards but far from the basket.
Against the likes of Longwood and Florida A&M, Anderson intentionally plays Powell and his regulars just half the game.
Against an Arizona State or Wisconsin, even while utilizing his bench, Anderson wants mainstays like Powell available for 30 minutes or more.
Anderson subbed against Arizona State more because of foul trouble than to wear down the opponent. Arkansas was charged with 27 fouls.
“We got some guys in early foul trouble,” Anderson said after the Arizona State game Friday. “That’s a thing this team has got to learn, not to foul at 94 feet. They [the Sun Devils] shot 36 free throws and therein lies the game in itself.”
The fouls had Powell on the bench when Arizona State overcame an early Arkansas lead in the first half and ran away with it in the second half.
“Not having a guy like Marshawn out there in the first half had an effect,” Anderson said Friday. “And the second half he picked up the third foul really quick. When he’s out there you can see he gives us that physical toughness you have got to have. Hopefully tomorrow [Saturday against Wisconsin] we don’t put people at the foul line because you have got to give yourself a chance. We want to speed the game up but there’s a way to do that. You don’t foul guys. It’s a lesson for them and the key is if we learn from it.”
Unfortunately, Powell again fouled himself into trouble versus Wisconsin.
Anderson preached patience. Powell is the Hogs’ only current player into his fourth season, but he missed last season and also missed some time with injuries during his first two seasons under former Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey.
“Marshawn has been out a whole year,” Anderson said after the Wisconsin game. “You could see the only way he is going to get that timing back is through game experience. You can do just so much in practice, but the games take on a different meaning.”
Customarily, games positively mean more to Arkansas if Marshawn Powell is available to play them.
Sports, Pages 16 on 11/26/2012