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:
Madden on target for Hogs
Arkansas guard Rashad Madden celebrates after hitting a 3-point shot against Clemson in the first half of Saturday afternoon's game against the Tigers at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Ky Madden had made 5 three-pointers in six games before nearly doubling that total Saturday by making 4 of 5 three-point shots in Arkansas’ 74-68 victory over Clemson.
Madden made his second consecutive start but didn’t take a shot until the 4:14 mark of the first half. The junior point guard hit a three-pointer off a pass from Bobby Portis to give Arkansas a 30-26 lead.
Madden cashed in another long-range shot a minute later, on an assist by Alandise Harris, and he was just warming up.
“I didn’t surprise myself at all,” Madden said. “I’ve been putting in the work to shoot the way I did.”
Madden opened the second half with a pair of three-pointers to propel the Razorbacks to a 46-32 lead.
“Certainly surprised that he played as well as he did,” Clemson Coach Brad Brownell said. “The two threes he made initially kind of surprised us. I don’t know if he was quite as good a shooter.”
Madden’s long-range effort made him 9 of 16 (56.3 percent) from three-point range, good for the team lead in accuracy.
Clemson covered Arkansas three-point threats Anthlon Bell and Kikko Haydar well, allowing a combined 2 of 9 by that pair from beyond the three-point line.
“[Madden] made shots and they did a good job of covering, let’s say Anthlon or Kikko,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “Early in the year [Madden] had his issues, but now he’s getting a chance to go play basketball.
“So now I think it’s becoming more instinctive to him.”
No. 1 goes down
Clemson came in with the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense, allowing an average of just 51 points per game, but Arkansas blew by that standard at the 14:59 mark of the second half on a Michael Qualls drive in the lane.
The Razorbacks scored the most points Clemson has allowed all season, surpassing the amount UMass scored in a 62-56 victory over the Tigers on Rickey Scott’s free throw with 5:30 remaining.
Clemson owned a 45-30 rebounding advantage, the second-largest deficit Arkansas has had this year behind the minus-16 in an 85-77 loss to California.
“We’ve got to get better,” Coach Mike Anderson said.
“We had balls in our hands.
… I told our guys, ‘Just think if we get those rebounds.
They’re sending like four guys to the glass, so if we get that initial rebound it should be dunk city at the other end.’ But they started pushing and shoving and all that.”
Clemson Coach Brad Brownell pointed out his team’s 19-8 advantage in offensive rebounds didn’t exactly pay off. Arkansas outscored the Tigers 15-14 in second-chance points.
Arkansas, the SEC’s best free-throw shooting team, had its issues at the line, allowing Clemson to stay around down the stretch.
The Razorbacks entered shooting an SEC-best 75.4 percent from the free-throw line, but they connected on just 20 of 31 (.645) against the Tigers.
“We got to the free-throw line but we didn’t convert,” Mike Anderson said.
Arkansas has won 19 consecutive games at Walton Arena, the sixth longest home winning streak in the nation. Clemson became just the second ACC team to play at Walton Arena since it opened for the 1993-94 season. The Razorbacks lost to Wake Forest 76-71 on Nov. 16, 2001, in a second-round preseason NIT game.
Arkansas’ big men continued to be key contributors in the offensive flow.
Forwards Bobby Portis, Coty Clarke, Jacorey Williams and Alandise Harris dealt out assists on seven of the Razorbacks’ eight made three-pointers in the opening half, including three by Clarke and two by Portis.
Arkansas forwards accounted for 10 of the team’s 16 assists.
Senior guard Mardracus Wade did not play for the first time at Arkansas, a stretch spanning 100 games before Saturday.
“He’s OK,” Coach Mike Anderson said. “We played the guys that are playing well, and so it’s hard to play everybody. He’s been having OK practice. We just have some guys that are playing well.” Ties to Tigers
Arkansas forward Jacorey Williams played at Central Park Christian in Birmingham Ala., with Clemson standout K.J.
McDaniels, who is also friends with Birmingham native Coty Clarke, an Arkansas senior.
Long time ago
Arkansas and Clemson played only one other time, in the Poinsettia Classic on Dec. 29, 1961, with the Hogs taking a 62-60 victory.
Sports, Pages 28 on 12/08/2013