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:
Powell asserts himself
Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell celebrates with the student section following Arkansas' 73-71 win over Missouri. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
FAYETTEVILLE Powell asserts himself - Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell had nine points by halftime Saturday against Missouri.
He saved his best for the second half as the Razorbacks took a 73-71 victory at Walton Arena.
Powell took over early in the second half, powering inside for four points to pull Arkansas within 37-36, then stepping out and hitting a three-pointer to give the Razorbacks their first lead, 39-37, with 16:57 remaining.
Powell scored 12 of Arkansas’ first 15 points of the second half to help the Hogs build a 44-41 lead, and he finished with a team high 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting.
“My team tells me all the time, one-on-one on the block, it’s hard to stop me,” Powell said. “So that’s what I went to, and I just tried to grind it out and get points for my team.”
Powell’s post moves were on display during his hot streak, as the 6-7 junior spun and powered into the lane against Missouri big men Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi.
“When you’ve got a guy like Powell, well, Powell is pretty good,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “Powell is really, really good. As a matter of fact, if you noticed, we were going through him in the second half. Not only going through him, but he was delivering.
“He makes the game a lot easier for a whole lot of guys.”
The last minute had it all: Loose-ball scrambles, controversial calls, clutch shots by both teams and two three-point plays by BJ Young.
The result left Arkansas elated after salvaging a game in which it trailed by four points with 30 seconds remaining and left the Tigers fuming.
The strange plays included a no-call when Phil Pressey collided with Arkansas’ Coty Clarke at the top of the key and lost the ball with about 15 seconds remaining. Also,the clock operator started the clock before a Missouri player touched the ball as the Tigers inbounded with 5.3 seconds left trailing 73-71. Pressey had been prepared to scoop the ball up near half court when referee Tony Greene noticed the clock running and stopped play.
The resulting do-over helped Arkansas, as Coach Mike Anderson brought his defense all the way down and pressured Pressey on his drive up the floor that led to Jabari Brown’s missed three-point shot at the buzzer.
Arkansas forward Coty Clarke was 3 for 3 from behind the three-point line, all in the first half, tied his scoring high in SEC games with 13 points, had a team-best 7 rebounds and combined with Marshawn Powell to outscore Missouri’s front-court starters 37-9.
Clarke’s three-pointers made him 6 of 12 from that range for the season and 4 of 6 in league play.
“He was a huge factor,” Powell said. “He probably wasn’t accounted for as much as I was on their scouting report, so it opened him up a little bit and he was able to show his game.”
While Clarke made 3 of 3 three-pointers, the rest of the Razorbacks made just 4 of 20.
Arkansas took a 20-18 edge in the series with the victory. The Razorbacks lead 11-8 in home games, trail 8-10 in games played in Columbia, Mo., and won the only neutral floor game, 81-73, at the Great Alaska Shootout in 1980.
Missouri’s Keion Bell and Earnest Ross combined to make 16 of 23 shots (69.6 percent) and scored 41 points, or 57.8 percent of their team’s total. The rest of the Tigers went 7 of 35 (20 percent) from the field.
Forward Laurence Bowers, the SEC leader with 56.5 percent field-goal shooting entering Saturday’s game, went 1 of 10, his worst effort of the season, and scored a season-low two points. Bowers had made fewer than four field goals in only three games before Saturday.
Sports, Pages 34 on 02/17/2013