Hog Calls:

Words prompt improved rebounding

By: Nate Allen
Published: Saturday, January 28, 2017
Arkansas' Moses Kingsley (33) comes down with a rebound against Mississippi State's Quinndary Weatherspoon during a game Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
Arkansas' Moses Kingsley (33) comes down with a rebound against Mississippi State's Quinndary Weatherspoon during a game Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Sticks and stones may break your bones, they say.

What they don't say is unkind words may help you.

It was brutally honest when Mississippi State forward Aric Holman, with Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland wincing alongside, talked about Arkansas' rebounding in the postgame news conference.

Holman's game-leading 11 rebounds paced the Bulldogs' 41-29 advantage on the boards and 84-78 victory Jan. 10 at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

"At the beginning of the game, Coach was telling us they don't box out very good," Holman said. "So we focused on that and basically we executed and just played hard."

Since that loss, the Razorbacks (16-4, 5-3 SEC) have won four SEC games on the boards and the scoreboard. Already matching last season's victories in a 16-16 season, they have beaten Missouri and LSU at home and won at Texas A&M and at Vanderbilt going into today's SEC/Big 12 Challenge game at Oklahoma State.

The rebounding results indicate the Hogs may have taken Holman's words personally.

Before practice Thursday, guards Daryl Macon and Dusty Hannahs said they did.

"When somebody tells the media that we don't rebound, that's something we're going take to heart," Macon said. "We've been banking on our rebounding since the Mississippi State game."

Hannahs agreed.

"I think so," Hannahs said. "I think that was just a focus in practice. It was running harder and rebounding and playing better defense. I think we've been doing better in all three of those."

Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said Mississippi State motivated the Razorbacks to rebound, much like getting beat on their first road game at Minnesota. That sparked Arkansas to win against Texas in Houston and on the road at Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt and play a strong first half before losing at prohibitively favored Kentucky.

"We got our heads banged at Minnesota and we learned from it," Anderson said. "That was the key. We go back on the road and you have some success at a neutral site with Texas which still is primarily on the road, then starting off in the conference play at Tennessee. Each time you go out, you gain confidence and our guys are playing the right way."

Even victorious, it didn't go the right way rebounding against Texas and Tennessee. It took Mississippi State nailing the boards for the Hogs to bow up.

"Yeah, I think they took it upon themselves," Anderson said. "Rebounding is just physicality and want-to. You have to hit people. It's toughness."

And it's often bigs blocking out bigs while a guard rebounds the ball.

"Your guards have to rebound," Anderson said. "We're seeing our guards rebound and get in there and hit people. I think we are rebounding by committee and that's important. And we're doing a good job getting to the offensive glass."

Sports on 01/28/2017

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