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.
UA struggling on the rebound
Marshawn Powell was scoreless in Arkansas' 69-51 loss at Texas A&M on Wednesday.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas has some catching up to do after its train wreck of an SEC opener at Texas A&M.
Arkansas will carry an SEC-worst minus-24 rebounding margin and an SEC-low 26.7 percent free throw shooting percentage in conference games into its match up against Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. Saturday in Walton Arena.
Texas A&M outrebounded Arkansas 51-27 on Wednesday
The Aggies recorded 32 offensive rebounds
In SEC games, Arkansas ranks last in the SEC in free throw shooting (26.7 percent)
The Razorbacks also made just 3 of 15 three-pointers (20 percent) Wednesday night in a 69-51 loss to Texas A&M, that is ahead of only Georgia (1 of 10) and Mississippi State (0 of 10).
“It was disappointing from the standpoint that I really felt good about our team going in there and having a chance to go and steal one,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “That didn’t take place and I know, being in this business for this long, that you have got to have short-term memory.”
Anderson said Thursday that pointing out the problems while watching video of the loss to Texas A&M would be paramount in the Razorbacks’ recovery. Chief among those problems was Arkansas’ 51-27 rebounding deficit.
“We’ll watch, no question about it, because going into that game, [rebounding] is all we’ve been emphasizing,” Anderson said before Thursday’s video review. “Since the Michigan game, that’s all we’ve been emphasizing. … Rebounding is effort, and not only just that first effort, the second effort, the third effort.”
Texas A&M out rebounded the Hogs 32-7 on Arkansas’ offensive end and trailed just 20-19 on its offensive glass.
Arkansas had a better shooting percentage than the Aggies - 42 percent to 36 percent - but the rebound deficit, the poor three-point shooting and an abominable 4-of-15 effort from the free throw line gave the Hogs no chance.
“It’s like a turnover when you miss two free throws,” guard BJ Young said Wednesday. “If we miss two and then they get a bucket, that’s like a four- or five-point swing.”
Anderson was so stupefied by the dismal free-throw numbers that he repeated them.
“We made four out of 15,” he said. “Four out of 15, that’s not going to get it. You make a team shoot 30-something percent [from the field], four out of 15 from the line, 22 of 27 for them? Therein lies the game.”
Forward Marshawn Powell, the team’s second-leading scorer, got into foul trouble that limited him to six minutes in the first half and finished with no points and two rebounds in 12 minutes.
“I think Marshawn will be fine,” Anderson said. “I think it’s just him getting back in the flow of things, and obviously he’s a big part of what we do. … He’s got to play through some of those situations.”
Freshman Anthlon Bell, who made 3 of 6 from three point range, was the only Razorback to make a three-point shot. The rest of the team was 0 of 9.
“That’s just one of our worst games I’ve been a part of,” said Young, who made 6 of 12 shots and led Arkansas with 13 points in 27 minutes. “We tried hard, we just couldn’t get it going.”
Anderson said a stronger level of mental toughness will be needed to win those type of games.
“I think you find out a lot more about your team when adversity takes place,” he said. “I thought for a while there our poise, when they came out in the second half and they hit us, I thought we kind of lost our poise.”
Up next VANDERBILT AT ARKANSAS
WHEN 5 p.m. Saturday WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville TV Fox Sports Net RADIO Razorback Sports Network.
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/11/2013