Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Powell, Young can’t do it all for Hogs
Arkansas' BJ Young (11) prepares to spin to the hoop during the first half an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Arkansas defeated Tennessee 73-60. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
FAYETTEVILLE It almost always adds up for Arkansas when Marshawn Powell and BJ Young play at their peaks.
Their combined 45 points, 25 for the sophomore guard Young and 20 for the junior forward Powell, in the Razorbacks’ 83-75 victory at Auburn on Wednesday night marks the latest proof.
Proof the other way - the double disaster of Young struggling and Powell plunged into early foul trouble - manifested just two games ago. The dynamic duo combined for just 12 points in the 67-49 loss at Vanderbilt.
Arkansas defeated Vandy 56-33 in Fayetteville with Powell and Young combining for 31 points, just two shy of what the Commodores managed.
However, this is not a two-man show the Razorbacks must bring to Walton Arena for today’s game with Missouri. Today starts the last seven chances for long-shot Arkansas (15-9) ascending the NCAA Tournament bubble before the SEC Tournament.
The Missouri Tigers seem too balanced for just Arkansas’ Big Two to beat them. Six Tigers average between 10.3 and 15.1 points per game.
For Arkansas’ three most notable victories among its 6-5 SEC record, these Hogs got a lot of help from a lot of folks.
Arkansas’ notables include upsetting SEC leader Florida, then ranked No. 2 nationally, and the sweep over Auburn that included Walton Arena’s lone double-overtime game and Arkansas’ lone road victory this season.
The Hogs were so well-balanced against Florida that Young and Powell combined for just 24 points, yet Arkansas led by as much as 27.
Powell (28) and Young (22) combined for 50 against Auburn at Walton Arena, but the Hogs don’t prevail without Mardracus Wade, Coty Clarke and Kikko Haydar bringing a combined 29 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench.
After Powell’s performance Wednesday it gets forgotten that he sat out the final 9:46 of the first half with the same early foul troubles that he and the team couldn’t remotely overcome in lopsided losses at Texas A&M and at Vanderbilt.
Arkansas led 20-15 when Powell picked up his second foul and trailed only 35-33 at intermission.
Arkansas reserve forwards Jacorey Williams, Michael Qualls and Hunter Mickelson didn’t hold the lead, but at least they held the fort.
“I thought they did a good job,” Anderson said. “I thought Jacorey gave us some big minutes, gave us five points in the little time he was in there. Michael Qualls hit a big second-half shot and gave us energy.”
Guards Ky Madden and Haydar again were subtly big off the bench at Auburn, Anderson said. For starters, junior guards Rickey Scott and Wade scored 11 each.
“Our Big Two did some good things,” Anderson said of Powell and Young. “But the guy who really got us started was Rickey Scott. Rickey played big for us in a lot of ways.”
While it takes their Big Two to tango, these Hogs need all they’ve got to dance during March Madness.
Sports, Pages 20 on 02/16/2013