Powell Breaks Single-Game Record
Behind forward Marshawn Powell’s 33 points, the Arkansas men’s basketball team was able to hold onto a late second half lead to beat the Oklahoma Sooners Tuesday, 81-78. The Hogs exacted revenge on the Sooners, who won the last game in the series last year in Norman, Okla., 78-63.
Powell set a career high for points in a game with 33, while filling out a nice stat sheet with six rebounds and five assists. Powell’s previous high was 29 against Appalachian State in his freshman season in 2009. Powell also had six rebounds and five assists, showing his complete repertoire of skills.
It seems concerns about him being 100 percent after missing nearly all of last year are no longer necessary, as Powell took control of the team against the Sooners.
In the post game interview, however, Powell insisted he is still at 95 percent, always leaving room for improvement.
Mardracus Wade had 10 points, making two consecutive threes in the second half that helped pad the Razorbacks’ lead. As a team, the Hogs shot 9-22 from beyond the arc, clearly their best effort all season in that category.
The Razorbacks once again had a good turnover ratio, forcing 17 Sooner turnovers and scoring 19 points off those turnovers. Arkansas ranks in the top 10 in the country in turnover margin, and showed their pressure is key to winning close games.
BJ Young had 10 points as well as a career high eight assists, taking on more of a distributor role with Powell being so hot. Young played the most minutes of any Arkansas player, but was mostly keyed on by the Oklahoma defense.
“He made everyone around him better, even when he wasn’t scoring he was still a threat on the court, and that really helped us tonight,” said Powell about Young.
“Our awareness of Young was pretty good, but he is still a very tough player to guard,” said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger.
Fellow sophomore Rashad Madden also contributed good minutes in his first game of the season off the bench, finishing with eight points and three rebounds including some clutch shooting late in the second half.
The Sooners wouldn’t go down easily though, as they were able to hang on and stay in the game most of the second half, shooting 64 percent from the field in the second frame. The Razorbacks were able to keep ahead just enough in the second half to close it out, unlike what they were able to do in games earlier this season against Arizona State and Wisconsin.
With 22 seconds remaining, an offensive rebound led to a Steven Pledger three for Oklahoma to give the Sooners the lead for the first time since 17:58 in the first half. The Hogs answered with a BJ Young layup with 14 seconds remaining to put the Razorbacks back on top 79-78.
Oklahoma then missed a basket with two seconds remaining and fouled Powell, who then hit both free throws to put the Hogs up for good.
“They wouldn’t go away, we had the opportunity to distance ourselves, and their players stepped up,” said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson.
The Hogs were able to hold on in the end to improve their record to 4-3, and may have some newfound leadership in the play of Powell.
Next up, the Razorbacks face No. 3 ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., their first true road game of the season. Tipoff for that game is noon Saturday.