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:
Madden on target for Hogs
Arkansas' Rashad Madden chases the ball down court to save it Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, during the second half of the game against Auburn at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas’ Ky Madden went scoreless for a stretch of 16:48 in the middle part of Saturday’s game against Auburn.
Then the point guard took charge with the Hogs leading 49-41 with less than 14 minutes remaining, scoring 19 of his career-high 24 points down the stretch as the Razorbacks defeated the Tigers 86-67.
Madden hit a three pointer as part of Arkansas’ 8-0 game-opening run, then made a layup to give the Hogs a 14-10 lead for his only scoring before his late blitz.
“My teammates helped me and I made good shots,” Madden said.
“I know he’s a go-to player since BJ Young left,” Auburn guard Chris Denson said.
“He made a lot of good shots tonight.”
Madden’s work included a 9-of-9 showing from the free throw line, 5 assists, 4-of-4 shooting in the second half and 6-of-10 shooting overall, including 3 of 5 from three point range.
“His confidence continues to rise each and every game,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.
Madden, a 6-5 junior from Lepanto, is averaging 17 points per game in his past seven games.
Arkansas improved to 45-5 at home under third year Coach Mike Anderson.
The Razorbacks went 17-3 at Walton Arena in Anderson’s first season, 17-1 last year and are 11-1 this season with the lone loss (84-82) against then-No. 10 Florida.
Arkansas forward Coty Clarke drew an appreciative roar from the home crowd for a hustle sequence late in the first half.
Clarke made a steal and saved the ball while running toward the scorer’s table, and wound up diving headfirst over the table as the Razorbacks missed a shot.
Clarke scrambled to his feet, then ran all the way down and around the Auburn bench to get back on the floor.
Fans watching Clarke began raising their voices in anticipation as he raced up behind dribbler KT Harrell and poked the ball away to teammate Ky Madden to start a break the other way.
“You talk about second and third effort, well, that was a fourth and fifth effort,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “I mean, he went out of the play. He was probably up there in the stands with the fans. But he had the presence to come and ball hunt and tap it and we get it again.
“That energizes not only our bench, the guys out on the floor, but I think it energizes the building as well.”Line changes
Arkansas started 0 of 3 from the free-throw line, with two misses by Bobby Portis and one by Jacorey Williams, but the slow start wasn’t a prelude for the game.
Portis hit the second of a two-shot opportunity to start a streak of 12 consecutive made free throws, which ended with a miss by Moses Kingsley with 1:01 left in the half.
The Razorbacks finished 22 of 30 (73.3 percent), their best free-throw shooting in an SEC game.
Auburn had seven scoreless possessions to open the game and fell behind 8-0 before Chris Denson made 1 of 2 free throws at the 16:10 mark.
Auburn 7-footer Asauhn Dixon-Tatum shot an air ball on the game’s first possession. Also, point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen had two turnovers and missed a three-pointer, Denson missed two shots and KT Harrell misfired.
The Tigers were 0 of 8 before their first basket, a dunk by Matthew Atewe at 12:30 to pull Auburn within 8-5.
Long drought II
Arkansas led 8-0 on a three-pointer by Anthlon Bell at the 17:16 mark, but the Razorbacks didn’t score again until the 11:18 mark on a Jacorey Williams put back. Arkansas was 0-of-9 shooting, and had 4 turnovers and 6 fouls.
Sophomore Anthlon Bell made 3 of 5 three-point shots, his first game with three since he went 4 of 10 in an 85-77 loss to California on Nov. 25.
Bell, a 6-3 guard, had not made more than one three pointer in a game since he went 2 of 6 in a 104-71 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Jan. 4.
The shooting struggles continued for Arkansas’ Michael Qualls, who missed his first five shots before converting a tomahawk dunk after a pass from Ky Madden and then stealing a pass and dribbling in for a two-handed dunk with 4:18 remaining.
Qualls has made 11 of 56 shots (19.6 percent) in SEC games.
The Arkansas and Auburn coaching staffs donned tennis shoes in support of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative.
Arkansas senior Rickey Scott did not play for the second time in three games and the fifth time this season. Scott has logged 20 minutes while playing in four SEC games and has 2 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound in those games.
The victory was the 250th for Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson.
TUESDAY’S GAMES LSU 77, Missouri 71 Kentucky 68, Texas A&M 51
WEDNESDAY’S GAMES Tennessee 81, Arkansas 74 Mississippi State 82, Auburn 74 Georgia 97, South Carolina 76 Mississippi 63, Vanderbilt 52
THURSDAY’S GAME Florida 68, Alabama 62
SATURDAY’S GAMES Arkansas 86, Auburn 67 Vanderbilt 66, Texas A&M 55 Kentucky 79, Georgia 54 Mississippi 82, Mississippi State 63 Missouri 82, South Carolina 74 Florida 67, Tennessee 41 Alabama 82, LSU 80
Sports, Pages 24 on 01/26/2014