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:
Bulldogs feel sting of swats
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said he supports freshmen being able to take six credit hours in the summer before beginning their first season.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas posted a season high 11 blocked shots and scored more points against Mississippi State than any other team this season in a 96-70 victory Wednesday at Walton Arena.
Six Razorbacks recorded a blocked shot, led by Hunter Mickelson’s three and two each by Marshawn Powell, Mardracus Wade and Coty Clarke.
Arkansas’ shot-blocking frenzy started midway through the second half and helped fuel an 18-2 run.
Clarke’s block on Craig Sword at about the 8:30 mark tied Arkansas’ season high of 10, set in a 97-59 victory over Alcorn State, and Wade’s block on Roquez Johnson at the 7:21 mark set a season high.
A layup by Davion Spivey with 45 seconds left was Arkansas’ final score, surpassing the Bulldogs’ previous season high for points allowed, set by North Carolina in a 95-49 victory at the Maui Invitational.
After a pair of free throws by Gavin Ware pulled Mississippi State within 52-42 at the 15:05 mark, Arkansas unleashed a 23-5 run to take command at 75-47.
The spree started with Fred Gulley’s three-pointer, ended with the second of Anthlon Bell’s 3 three pointers and included dunks by BJ Young and Coty Clarke, three blocked shots by the Hogs and four Mississippi State turnovers.
“We sped them up and played them into our hands,” Gulley said.
“We saw them getting tired,” Clarke added.
Bulldogs guard Fred Thomas, who tied a career high with 17 points, said too many of his teammates were trying to “manage their fatigue” during that stretch.
“At that point, we just stopped fighting,” Thomas said. “We just started giving up, stopped fighting.”
Sophomore Ky Madden made his first start since the Razorbacks’ 79-74 victory over Robert Morris on Dec. 20.
Madden started at guard in place of BJ Young, who had started all 16 games he had played in since sitting out the season opener as part of a suspension.
“I always say I’ve got seven or eight starters.
Ky’s one of those starters,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.
Madden led the Razorbacks with 21 minutes played and had 4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 blocked shot and 1 turnover.
Arkansas’ crisp passing led to assists on the Razorbacks’ first six baskets, all from the starting five.
Fred Gulley set up a dunk by Hunter Mickelson and a three-pointer by Rickey Scott, then Mickelson fed Marshawn Powell for a slam with both men cutting to the hole. Ky Madden assisted on a layup by Powell, then Scott set up a pair of layups by Powell.
Arkansas finished with 27 assists, tying a season high, on its 33 field goals.
Arkansas improved to 23-22 against the Bulldogs since joining the SEC for the 1991-92 season. The Razorbacks lead the all-time series 29-25. The Bulldogs had made up a lot of ground with a 15-7 mark in the series since their second meeting of the 2001-02 season.
What’s that call?
Arkansas fans roared in disapproval over back to-back goal tending calls against the Razorbacks.
BJ Young’s pull-up bank shot was curling back in when Michael Qualls leaped and had his hand near the ball when he was whistled by Rick Hartzell for touching it. On the other end, Craig Sword’s 13-footer was wiped away by Coty Clarke near the rim, but referee Tracy Woodson made the goal-tending call.
Woodson drew the fans’ greatest wrath in the second half when he called a charge on Marshawn Powell, who had leaped almost completely over the Bulldogs’ Tyson Cunningham on a one handed slam. Seconds later the boos dried up when Young took a breakaway passed and hammered it through the goal.
“He hasn’t dunked in a game like that since he’s come back [from knee surgery],” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “He was excited about it after the game. That tells me he’s having fun out there.”
Every Arkansas player who played more than two minutes scored except for guard Dee Wagner, who did not take a shot in his four minutes but had two assists. … Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson made his first substitution a full five man swap, with Mardracus Wade, BJ Young, Kikko Haydar, Coty Clark and Jacorey Williams checking in at the 14:47 mark. The group was promptly outscored 8-0 over three minutes before Williams tipped in a miss by Young.
… Haydar went 1 for 4 on three-pointers to fall below .500 (17 for 35) from that range for the first time since he hit 4 of 4 from beyond the line at Michigan on Dec. 8. … After falling behind 14-3 in the first five minutes, the Bulldogs had only one possession in which they were within two points. At 23-21, Mississippi State’s Craig Sword missed a driving layup, Young rebounded for the Hogs and drove the length of the floor for a layup. … Wes Flanigan, a former Little Rock Parkview and Auburn player, is in his first season as an assistant coach for Mississippi State.
Sports, Pages 22 on 01/24/2013