Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Hogs need to add weight to resume
LSU's Jordan Mickey (25) shoots over Arkansas' Moses Kingsley during an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/The Advocate, Catherine Threlkeld)
FAYETTEVILLE - The clock is running down on Arkansas’ opportunity to build a resume the NCAA Tournament selection committee will deem worthy of an at-large bid.
Arkansas (15-9, 4-7 SEC) missed a chance for a quality victory at Missouri on Thursday night when the Tigers held on to win 86-85 after Ky Madden missed a driving attempt with two seconds left.
The Razorbacks fell to 2-4 in SEC games that have gone into overtime or been decided by four or fewer points. They have seven SEC games remaining before the conference tournament.
“We’ve got to win games. I think that’s the bottom line,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “We’ve been to the point where we’re in it, we’re right there.
“We’ve shown we’re capable of playing with anybody, whether it be here or on the road. So we’ve just got to keep the mindset of controlling what we can control, and that’s going to be our next game with LSU.”
The Razorbacks play LSU (15-8, 6-5) at 4 p.m. today in Walton Arena, less than 48 hours after returning home from Missouri.
“We’ve got to turn around and focus and get this win at home,” Arkansas junior forward Alandise Harris said. “It’s simple: Get a win.”
Anderson said the quick turnaround is tougher mentally than physically for the Razorbacks, who had a short practice Friday.
“The mental part is to get over the tough loss,” Anderson said. “Our guys felt pretty good about themselves going in and played well enough to win, but we didn’t get the ultimate and there are no moral victories. So you’ve got to have a short-term memory.”
The Razorbacks don’t have a good memory of their last game against LSU, when the Tigers won 88-74 in Baton Rouge two weeks ago, but Arkansas played without Harris and sophomore forward Michael Qualls.
Anderson suspended Harris and Qualls for the first LSU game for conduct detrimental to the team, and both have had their positive moments since being reinstated.
Qualls scored 17 points, including the game-winning three-point basket, in the Razorbacks’ 77-75 victory at Vanderbilt and had 10 points and four rebounds at Missouri. Harris scored eight points when Arkansas beat Alabama 65-58 and had 16 points in 18 minutes at Missouri.
“Having those guys back gives us a full contingent, and depth is a big weapon that we use,” Anderson said. “It’s the strength of our team.”
Harris and Qualls combined for 15 points in the second half at Missouri - including two alley-oop dunks by Qualls - when they helped the Razorbacks take the lead before Jabari Brown scored the game-winning basket on a drive with 12.2 seconds left.
“Alandise played like a warrior,” Anderson said. “He’s a guy that we count on. I thought Michael gave us some really big minutes. They give us some athletic guys and give us some toughness. They’re a big part of the team.”
Arkansas could be missing some depth inside today if 6-10 freshman Moses Kingsley doesn’t play. He is dealing with a back injury he sustained in the second half against Missouri. Kingsley left the game with 10:58 left and didn’t return. He had 3 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 19 minutes at LSU.
Anderson said Kingsley received treatment Friday but was held out of practice.
“We’ll see how that works out,” Anderson said. “He played well down there last time and gives us a presence inside, especially on the defensive side. Hopefully, we’ll have him.”
LSU forwards Johnny O’Bryant, Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin combined for 60 points and 25 rebounds against Arkansas in Baton Rouge, where the Tigers are 5-1 in SEC games. They are 1-4 in SEC road games, including an 83-73 loss at Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
“It’s not easy to just go and win on the road,” Anderson said. “I mean, you’ve got to do a lot of things well.”
The Razorbacks did a lot of things well at Missouri to give themselves a chance to win.
“They’re excited about playing right now,” Anderson said. “If you watch our team right now, they’re eager to play. They know they’re starting to play really, really good basketball.”
Today’s game ARKANSAS MEN VS. LSU WHEN 4 p.m.
WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 15-9, 4-7 SEC. LSU 15-6, 6-5.
SERIES Arkansas leads 31-26 RADIO Razorback Sports Network TELEVISION ESPNU TICKETS $25 lower and upper deck, $20 loft (west end zone above 4th row)
Sports, Pages 21 on 02/15/2014