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:
Bell busts loose for 23 points
Arkansas' Anthlon Bell, left, looks around Mississippi defender Jarvis Summers, right, is the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fayetteville, Ark., Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Arkansas defeated Mississippi 110-80. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
FAYETTEVILLE - Anthlon Bell likes playing against Mississippi teams.
Bell came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points in 12 minutes of Arkansas’ 110-80 rout of Ole Miss on Wednesday night.
Bell’s previous career high was 19 points in the Razorbacks’ 73-69 victory at Mississippi State on Feb. 22.
Bell made 7 of 10 three pointers to key Arkansas’ school-record 17 three pointers in an SEC game.
The Memphis native got busy quickly after entering in the first half with Arkansas leading 18-17 by sinking a pullup 14-footer to make it 20-17.
“Once I just hit the floater and then I came down and hit one in transition, it felt good the rest of the night,” Bell said.
“It felt like the rim was wide open.”
Bell made four three pointers in a span of 2:30 to push Arkansas’ lead to 37-25 and bring the Walton Arena crowd into full roar.
“Tonight, the way it was falling for him, was flowing for him, I think if he had just thrown it up backwards it would have went in,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.
“Anthlon Bell came in and just changed the game,” Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said. “What’s crazy is Martavious Newby and him are on the same AAU team, so we knew him pretty well. … Newby gave us a pretty good scouting report, we just didn’t follow it very well.”
Bell said he didn’t have an issue with playing only 12 minutes, saying the seniors deserved the bulk of playing time on senior night.
Bell scored 42 points in 29 minutes against the Mississippi schools.
Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy had no trouble playing along with the blowout terminology as soon as he was seated at the post game dais.
Asked if the Rebels just ran into a buzz saw, Kennedy replied, “Freight train. Buzz saw. Whatever space you’ve got to fill.” Flame game
Arkansas guard Mardracus Wade said he, Coty Clarke and Anthlon Bell call themselves the “Flame Gamers,” and the three were the Hogs’ top long-range marksmen Wednesday.
After Bell’s 7-of-10 three point shooting, Wade kicked in 5 of 7 and Clark went 2 of 2 from three-point range for a combined 14 of 19 (73.7 percent).
“That’s awesome,” said Wade, whose 18 points were two shy of his career best and seven better than his previous high this season.
“Me and Anthlon and Cody always joke around and call ourselves the ‘Flame Gamers’ because we got flamers. We can shoot the ball.
“Today it just kind of like clicked all at once, and that is what we need to carry over game after game after game.”Score by quarters
Arkansas’ largest lead was 46 points, 97-51, on two free throws by Alandise Harris at the 10:09 mark.
The Hogs scored just 13 points in the final 10 minutes, after posting 20, 36 and 41 in the first three 10-minute segments.
At the height of their scoring blitz, the Razorbacks were 33 of 57 (57.8 percent) before making 4 of 20 at game’s end to finish 37 of 77 (48.1 percent). Arkansas had 27 assists on its 37 buckets.
Ole Miss sharpshooter Marshall Henderson led the Rebels with 15 points, but it took a game-high 15 shots to do it. Henderson made 3 of 11 three-pointers in his 6-of-15 performance.
Arkansas outscored the Rebels 71-26 in bench points, with Anthlon Bell (23 points), Ky Madden (14) and Alandise Harris (13) leading the way.
Every Razorback scored,with the exception of Dee Wagner and Manuale Watkins, who combined for 11 minutes.
Ole Miss won the rebounding battle 49-37 to give the Hogs their 13th rebounding deficit in 17 conference games and their ninth deficit of 10-plus rebounds on the season.
Turn it over
Arkansas forced 18 turnovers, many of which led to run-out baskets for the Hogs.
Arkansas committed six turnovers, tying the season low it had in its 87-85 victory over Kentucky.
The Razorbacks have back-to-back games with fewer than 10 turnovers for the first time this season.
Arkansas started four seniors - guards Mardracus Wade, Rickey Scott Jr. and Fred Gulley III and forward Coty Clarke - along with freshman Bobby Portis to comprise its 11th different starting lineup. Guard Kikko Haydar was the only senior not to start.
Portis remains the only Razorback to start all 30 games.
All five seniors were on the court together for a couple of minutes late in the game, drawing big cheers for the home crowd, and each was able to check out to big applause in the closing minutes.
The seniors each took a turn at the microphone at midcourt after the game, with Haydar telling the crowd, “I guess it’s safe to say Hawgball is back !”
Sports, Pages 20 on 03/06/2014