Razorbacks Try for 3rd Straight Win
Coming off two consecutive Southeastern Conference victories, and with six remaining to be played, UA head coach Mike Anderson said he thinks his team still has some good basketball left.
The Razorbacks won their first road game of the season at Auburn Wednesday, then won again Saturday at Bud Walton Arena, improving their overall record to 16-9 and SEC record to 7-5.
“We’re trending in the right direction,” Anderson said. “Guys are playing with a lot of confidence and are starting to trust each other.”
They face the Georgia Bulldogs, who are 12-13 overall and 6-6 in the SEC, tomorrow.
Despite having a losing record, the Bulldogs have been “playing good basketball” recently, Anderson said, winning five of their last seven games.
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leads Georgia with 17.7 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game. He is also the second-leading scorer in the SEC.
“Pope is having a tremendous sophomore year,” Anderson said. “He’s one of the better guards in our league.”
A pair of freshman guards, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, and a senior guard, Vincent Williams, are also keys to the Bulldogs’ success, Anderson said.
Anderson also said Georgia plays a mid-tempo, power style of basketball.
“Hopefully we can get our guys in the right state of mind and continue to push the tempo,” Anderson said. “Tempo is going to be important in this game.”
Offensively for the Razorbacks, Anderson expects several players to contribute. Junior forward Marshawn Powell led the team with 24 points against Missouri and Anderson said he thinks he could have another big game.
“If (Powell) has it going, we have to continue to go to him,” Anderson said. “He’s playing some of his best basketball and is a hard matchup.”
Junior forward Coty Clarke and sophomore guard BJ Young could also score a lot of points tomorrow, Anderson said.
Clarke had 13 points against Missouri and was 3-for-3 from three-point range, matching his season total of 3-pointers.
“If (Clarke) is making them, he can take them,” Anderson said, “but we know that his bread and butter is getting to the basket, his mid-range shot and getting to the free throw line.”
Since returning to the starting lineup, Young has scored 25 and 18 points against Auburn and Missouri, respectively, including seven in the final minute of the comeback victory over Missouri.
“I think (Young) is letting the game come to him,” Anderson said. “He’s getting a better feel of when it’s time to take over and when it’s not.”
A major key to defeating Georgia will be rebounding the basketball, Anderson said. In their 84-74 overtime loss at Ole Miss, the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Rebels by 15. When the Razorbacks played the Rebels in Oxford, Miss., Ole Miss out-rebounded them by four.
“(Rebounding) is a concern, especially with Georgia,” Anderson said. “They’re a team that will shoot and go get it. Our guards and forwards need to do a better job on the boards.”
While Arkansas has won four of their last five games, Anderson said he thinks the team hasn’t even played to its full potential.
“I don’t think we’ve hit all cylinders, yet,” Anderson said. “But we’re getting a better understanding of who we are. That identity is starting to show.”