Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
In the lane:
Portis playing bullishly
Arkansas' Bobby Portis (10) shoots a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fayetteville, Ark., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Arkansas won 111-65. (AP Photo/Sarah Bentham)
FAYETTEVILLE - Bobby Portis has been on a tear since a sluggish opening game at the EA Sports Maui Invitational last week.
The Arkansas freshman showed it again Tuesday with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 5 rebounds in his 16-minute stint in the Razorbacks’ 111-65 victory over Southeastern Louisiana.
Portis had a hot stretch early in the second half with a pair of tip-ins, a jumper, a put back of a Fred Gulley miss and two free throws in the first five minutes.
Portis, a 6-10 forward, is averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the 3 games since he put up 5 points and 1 rebound in the Razorbacks’ 85-77 loss to California.
“When he played against California and he had one rebound, he took that personal,” Coach Mike Anderson said. “In his mind,that’s not going to happen again. He wants to be a great player.”
Southeastern Louisiana Coach Jim Yarbrough complimented Portis on his ability to step away from the basket and shoot.
“I’d like to have him,” Yarbrough said. “If he gets bored here, he can transfer to Southeastern.”
Hogs hit 100
Arkansas topped the 100-point mark in style, with Jacorey Williams throwing down a left-handed slam on the break on a pass from Michael Qualls. The dunk put Arkansas ahead 101-47.
The Razorbacks had made the 100-point mark only one other time under Coach Mike Anderson, in their 112-63 victory over Longwood last Nov. 18.
All 14 Razorbacks who played got in the scoring column against the Lions, and the last four on the board came in rapid fashion.
Anthlon Bell stuck a 14-foot jumper on an inbounds pass from Michael Qualls at the 6:51 mark.
A few possessions later, Dee Wagner drove for a layup, followed shortly by Mardracus Wade’s three pointer and walk-on Manny Watkins’ jumper.
“We’re going to need some of those guys at some point in time,” Coach Mike Anderson said. “The better the competition in practice day in and day out, then it makes our team that much more effective, I think.”
It’s for free
The Razorbacks cleaned up at the free-throw line, making 26 of 34 for 76.5 percent, with senior Coty Clarke leading the way with 10-of-11 shooting.
Arkansas is shooting 75.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Southeastern stayed with Arkansas until the Hogs took command with a 15-0 tear that ended with a 26-7 advantage at the 12:17 mark.
Fred Gulley, Michael Qualls and Coty Clarke hit three-pointers during the spree, while Clarke and Moses Kingsley combined to go 4 of 4 at the free-throw line. The Lions committed four turnovers during the critical stretch, including Antonnio Benton’s charge, which was drawn by Kikko Haydar.
The Hogs launched an even bigger second-half run, a 19-0 spree that ended with an 81-35 margin.
Arkansas big men Alandise Harris, Bobby Portis and Coty Clarke were generous passers while helping the Hogs open the game with a three-point barrage.
Harris assisted on the first two goals, three pointers from Kikko Haydar, and Clarke later passes to Michael Qualls for his first three-pointer. Harris, who had a team-high four assists, set up Ky Madden’s three pointer at the 1:45 mark of the first half.
The three big men combined for eight of Arkansas’ 21 assists.
Sports, Pages 22 on 12/04/2013