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.
Fast start fuels Powell’s revival
NWA MEDIA/SAMANTHA BAKER -- Arkansas' Marshawn Powell drives into Vanderbilt's defense Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, during the first half of a game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Arkansas led 21-11 at halftime
Marshawn Powell scored a game-high 17 points
The Commodores set a record for fewest points in Bud Walton Arena and tied a school record for fewest points in the shot clock era
FAYETTEVILLE Marshawn Powell didn’t stay down for long.
Three nights after being held scoreless in an 18-point loss at Texas A&M, Powell bounced back with a fury on Saturday, leading Arkansas with 17 points in a 56-33 victory over Vanderbilt.
“That felt real, real good,” said Powell, whose scoreless effort at Texas A&M was the second of his career.
“It was good to see him show up and play like he’s capable of playing,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.
Powell, motivated by his foul-plagued effort Wednesday, hit his first eight shots, including a three-pointer, and finished 8 of 9.
Powell said he stayed up until 6:30 early Thursday morning after the Razorbacks returned from College Station, Texas, watching old videos.
“I was watching all the other old games I have,” he said, “and one thing came to my mind: It was every time I ended up playing good, I started off real, real fast.
“So I started off real early, asserted, and we always came out with a W, so that’s what I tried to do here tonight.”
Powell, a 6-7 junior, needed less than 35 seconds to top his scoring effort at Texas A&M. Powell intercepted a pass on Vanderbilt’s first possession, drove the length of the floor and dunked for the first points of the game at the 19:27 mark.
He put in a short bank on the left baseline a minute later, hit a 10-footer in the lane and then sank a 16-footer from the left wing on a pass from Maudracus Wade to give Arkansas an 8-1 lead before four minutes were played.
“Early on, Marshawn did the things he was doing all year,” Anderson said. “He was making them find him, facing up, as opposed to his back to the basket. We got him in the open court.
“His versatility is big to our basketball team. He can score and put it on the floor. Our guys did a good job finding him early on.”
Powell scored on a fast break after Vanderbilt closed to 15-6 with 7:21 remaining in a sluggish first half. Powell scored again after the Commodores inched within 19-11in the final minute of the half. He grabbed a missed three pointer by Hunter Mickelson and shoved in a put back with 4 seconds left in the half.
“We knew he was a good player,” Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings said. “We knew he would bounce back.
“He had a good day. He got off to a great start. I think he made their first four baskets. He’s a good player. He’s been a good player.”
Powell outscored Vanderbilt 12-11 in the first half.
“I’ve just got to stay out of foul trouble, man,” Powell said. “If I stay out of foul trouble and attack the basket hard and keep a positive attitude, then the sky’s the limit for us.We’ll get W’s like this.”
Powell’s performance included a career-high six steals that was one short of the Arkansas record for an SEC game, set by Todd Day against Vandy in 1992.
“That’s big for us,” Arkansas guard Kikko Haydar said. “It’s important that we get Marshawn and BJ [Young] and even Hunter [Mickelson] and everybody going early. If we can get them going early, we can feed off the energy. Especially in this building, we have a lot of energy.”
Sports, Pages 26 on 01/13/2013