In The Lane:

Anderson bids adieu to Rebels' Kennedy

By: Bob Holt
Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Arkansas forward Mike Anderson celebrates talks to players during the team's NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Petre Thomas/The Oxford Eagle via AP)
Arkansas forward Mike Anderson celebrates talks to players during the team's NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Petre Thomas/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

— Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson opened his postgame news conference by talking about Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy, who announced on Monday he’s stepping down at the end of the season.

“To Andy Kennedy, a dear friend, it hurts my heart to see him step away,” Anderson said. “So I want to pay my respects to him.

“He’s a great coach, and more than that he’s a great, great person.”

Ole Miss has lost six consecutive games, but Kennedy has a 245-154 record in 12 seasons with the Rebels, including a 12-9 mark against Arkansas.

Hall better from deep

Maybe Arkansas freshman forward Darious Hall should start shooting free throws from behind the three-point arc.

Hall hit just 1 of 7 free throws, but 3 of 4 three-pointers to help the Razorbacks beat Ole Miss 75-64 on Tuesday night at The Pavilion.

“It was a bad free throw game for me,” Hall said. “But I’ll get in the gym and continue to work on it.”

Two of Hall’s three-pointers came during an 18-1 run that pushed the Razorbacks’ lead from 53-52 to 71-53 and put the Rebels away.

“My teammates put it where I wanted it on the floor and I just shot it and it went in,” Hall said. “It was my game.”

Hall is shooting 51.8 percent (28 of 54) on free throws for the season and Mike Anderson said he may be thinking too much at the line.

“He’ll get better at it,” Anderson said. “Darious is a thinker, but trust me, he’ll work on it. He’s all about the team winning.“

While Hall continues to struggle at the free throw line, he’s now shooting 45.8 percent (11 of 24) on three-pointers.

SEC high for Beard

Arkansas senior guard Anton Beard scored 13 points, his most in an SEC game this season. Beard’s previous SEC high was 11 at Auburn and at LSU.

Two for the road

The Razorbacks improved to 2-6 on the road this season, including 2-5 in SEC games. Arkansas’ other road victory was at Georgia, where the Razorbacks won 80-77 in double overtime on Jan. 23.

Vs. Ole Miss

Arkansas improved to 47-32 all-time against Ole Miss, including a 97-93 victory over the Rebels at Walton Arena on Jan. 20.

The Razorbacks have a four-game winning streak against the Rebels.

Macon streak ends

Arkansas senior guard Daryl Macon wasn’t able to score 20 or more points for an eighth consecutive game.

The Rebels held Macon to a season-low four points as he hit shot 1 of 6 from the field — including 0 of 4 on three-pointers — but he found other ways to contribute.

Macon led the Razorbacks with six assists and had four rebounds.

“Daryl played to win,” Mike Anderson said. “He played the right way.”

Thomas starts

Arkansas senior forward Dustin Thomas has been benched for two games this season, but he was back in the starting lineup against Ole Miss in place of Arlando Cook.

It was Thomas’ 12th start of the season and his first since the Razorbacks played at LSU on Feb. 3. Thomas dressed out, but didn’t play in the next game against South Carolina. He also dressed out, but didn’t play on the first Arkansas-Ole Miss game on Jan. 20.

Thomas was suspended for the first three games.

Kennedy’s buyout

Andy Kennedy will receive a buyout of about $4 million for the remaining two years on his contact, Rebels Athletic Director Ross Bjork said.

Kennedy’s replacement may be in line for a higher annual salary than $2 million.

“We are going to ask donors to invest in this program,” Bjork said. “We know that the salary pool needs to be increased.”

TV gig?

Andy Kennedy showed he hasn’t lost his sense of humor when asked at his Monday news conference announcing he will step down at the end of the season if he might be interesting in working as a television analyst.

“I’m not sure,” Kennedy said. “I have a face for radio.”

Who’s starting?

Mike Anderson is known for changing starting lineups frequently, and the Razorbacks have used eight different combinations.

But that’s not close to Ole Miss. The Rebels have used 15 different starting lineups.

What next for Rebels?

Ole Miss Athletic Director Russ Bjork indicated Andy Kennedy will have some input on his replacement as the Rebels’ basketball coach.

“He is a resource in college basketball,” Bjork said. “He is well respected, so I think based on our relationship, we will have a dialogue on what the program needs and who are the right people out there, but now is about wanting to … finish strong and focusing on that. There will be a time for that.”

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