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.
Missouri forms triangled attack
Missouri's Jabari Brown celebrates after making a three point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against South Carolina Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 82-74. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
FAYETTEVILLE - Missouri will bring three of the SEC’s top 15 scorers into Walton Arena tonight to try to shoot down Arkansas.
Guards Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross are all listed at 6-5 and redshirted at Missouri after transferring from other NCAA Division I programs.
Brown, a junior from Oregon, is averaging an SEC-best 22.0 points in six conference games, including a career-high 28 at LSU last week. Clarkson, a junior from Tulsa, is averaging 17.8 points to rank fifth in conference games. Ross, a senior from Auburn, is averaging 14.0 points to rank 15th.
They combined for 62 points in Missouri’s 80-71 victory over UCLA: 22 for Brown, 21 for Clarkson and 20 for Ross.
“It’s definitely a luxury having three guys that can put the ball in the basket,”Tigers Coach Frank Haith said. “They can all have a big night.”
Missouri beat South Carolina 82-74 last Saturday when Brown had 24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Clarkson had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists and Ross had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
“What makes it harder is, fourth-year junior, fourthyear junior, fifth-year senior,” Gamecocks Coach Frank Martin said of the trio’s maturity.
“You’re taking about guys that are fully invested in the sense of urgency you’ve got to have, on top of being talented and real good players.
“They’ve created an unbelievable dynamic amongst themselves. It’s a hard, hard matchup. They’re big, they’re athletic and they all shoot the basketball.”
Brown is shooting 55.3 percent on three-pointers (21 of 38) in SEC games.
“I think Brown is playing as well as anyone in our conference right now,” Haith said.
“He’s having an unbelievable run.
“He’s worked hard on his game to become a complete player. A lot of that has to do with his patience and his understanding, his maturation as a player. He takes good shots, and he’s playing in a great rhythm.”
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said the size and and strength of Brown, Clarkson and Ross present challenges on defense. The three have hit a combined 261 of 334 free throws and 317 of 677 field goal attempts.
“How do we keep those guys off the glass and how do we keep those guys out of the lane … and at the same time be able to guard those guys on the perimeter?” Anderson said.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s a great opportunity for our guys to continue to take care of the home court.”
Arkansas men vs Missouri WHEN 6 p.m.
WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 13-6, 2-4 SEC; Missouri 15-4, 3-3 TELEVISION ESPNU
Sports, Pages 15 on 01/28/2014