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:
Hogs put emphasis on defense
NWA MEDIA/SAMANTHA BAKER -- Arkansas' Rashad Madden, center, keeps close to Kedren Johnson of Vanderbilt Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, during the first half 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 Arkansas’ defense held Vanderbilt to 25-percent shooting in a 56-33 victory over the Commodores.
The first half was particularly atrocious for Vanderbilt, which hit 3 of 15 shots (20 percent) to trail 21-11 at halftime.
“We wanted to play defense and I feel like that’s what we did,” Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell said. “We didn’t let them run their offense, because Vandy is a great team at doing what they do.”
The Commodores had more turnovers (14) than shots attempted (13) with less than two minutes remaining in the first half.
Vanderbilt was 1 of 13 (8 percent) at that point before Josh Henderson hit a baby hook in the lane and Rod Odom added a three-pointer.
Vanderbilt’s 11 first-half points marked the lowest total for an Arkansas opponent since Florida A&M scored 11 on Feb. 16, 2011. The Commodores’ 33-point total matched their lowest of the 35-second clock era, which came in a 50-33 loss to Marist on Nov. 23 this season. It was Vanderbilt’s fewest points since losing to Mississippi State 33-31 in 1982.
Not toeing line
Arkansas did not attempt a free throw in the first half and finally got to the line when BJ Young was fouled on the break by Josh Henderson at the 17:05 mark of the second half. Young converted both ends of the two-shot foul.
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said he was surprised his team didn’t get to the line in the first half because “we did some attacking. We had some fast breaks, some miscues on our part.
“But I guess it’s league play. They’re letting them play, I would imagine. But we did get there in the second half.
The Razorbacks finished the game making 9 of 10 free throws.
Under the skin
Vanderbilt’s leading scorer Kedren Johnson gave Arkansas’ Kikko Haydar a little shove after being fouled by Haydar in the first half. The push didn’t result in a foul or a technical foul on Johnson, which angered the Arkansas crowd.
“That little bump, I was just trying to get him upset,” Haydar said. “That’s all I was trying to do.”
Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell scored the Razorbacks’ first eight points and his point total alone outscored Vanderbilt for all but 36 seconds in the first half. A three-pointer by Rod Odom with 40 seconds remaining gave the Commodores an 11-10 lead over Powell, but the junior stuck in a put back with :04 seconds left to give him a 12-11 halftime lead.
“I don’t think I ever did that,” Powell said when asked if he had ever outscored a team in a first half.
No excuse Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stalling said Thursday’s 60-58 loss to Kentucky was a hard-fought emotional loss, but he didn’t blame his team’s poor effort on the minimal prep time, a day shorter than Arkansas had.
“I don’t want to say that we had a hard time bouncing back, because that’s not really what I believe,” Stallings said. “I could use that as an excuse, but … I think we just got outplayed.” Board game
Arkansas had a 32-29 rebounding edge on Vanderbilt on Saturday after being out rebounded 51-27 on Wednesday at Texas A&M.
“The last game out we didn’t do a good job, but today we did a much better job of finding people and getting to the glass and really getting out in transition,” Coach Mike Anderson said.
Arkansas’ Michael Qualls had a thunderous put back dunk for the second consecutive game. Anthlon Bell missed a three-point shot, Marshawn Powell’s put back try caromed off the right edge of the rim and Qualls sprinted the right baseline, rose quickly and slammed it in to give Arkansas a 50-24 lead late in the second half.
Fred Gulley got his first start as a Razorback and the junior contributed a steal and dunk at the 13:20 mark for a 12-3 Arkansas lead. Gulley finished with 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 turnover.
Arkansas ranks 291st out of the 347 Division I teams in terms of experience, while Vanderbilt ranks No. 318, according to roster research by Ken Pomeroy on kenpon.com.
Guard Kikko Haydar took his team-high eighth charge of the season. … Maudracus Wade came off the bench to contribute three points and one assist in the first half, but he did not play in the second half and did not record a rebound for a second consecutive game. … Arkansas leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 18-9, including 10-2 at Walton Arena. … The Razorbacks extended their winning streak in SEC home openers to four games and are 15-7 in league openers at Walton Arena since joining the SEC in 1991-1992. … Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, a former Cy Young Award winner, was at courtside. Lee, from of Benton, played for the Razorbacks in 2000.
Sports, Pages 26 on 01/13/2013