Coach Anderson needs more from his backups to get wins like the 94-70 win over Mississippi St. Wednesday night. - Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas finished the first 5 games of the SEC season in a winning way, which will surely give them some momentum going into a vital 5 game stretch of the season.
Many people have said that "Arkansas goes as Marshawn Powell and BJ Young go", and granted the two have combined for 40% of Arkansas points this season, but in games where they score 40% or more of the team's points, Arkansas is only 4-5, but if they combine for less than 40%, Arkansas is 8-2. I think it should really go "Arkansas goes as the role players go."
Look at tonight, first half, Arkansas gets off to an 11 point lead early 14-3, and more than half the scoring (8 points) was from Marshawn Powell, but when we go to rely on the role players to score and we don't have Powell leading the offensive charge, the lead shrinks, and Mississippi St. gets to 21-23 (granted that's when Fred Thomas poured in 13 of his 17 points). So at 21-23 we turned to BJ Young to carry us and he scored 9 of his 13 and pushed the lead back to 9 points at 37-28.
For the rest of the first half, Mississippi St. scored 5 points and Arkansas scored 5, and we had a 9 point lead on the backs of our two stars who had scored 22 of 42 points, well exceeding their season average of 40% of Arkansas' points scored. If you had told me that these two would combine for 8 points in the 2nd half, I would've expected the final score to look somewhat like Texas A&M game, but that's where the magic of this game happened. Players not named Young and Powell scored a total of 66 points in this game. The last time that happened was against Alcorn State when they put up 73 points.
In games where the Arkansas "role" players score 40 or more points, Arkansas is 9-2 and the only losses are to Michigan and Wisconsin.
This game had a lot of things, but I can't stress enough the importance of seeing the point distribution on the floor. It helps everyone and helps Powell and Young stay rested for the times when they do need to put up 33 and 29 points (season highs for each respectively). Maybe Coty Clarke doesn't go out for 13 every night. Sure Jacorey Williams doesn't need 10 a night to fill his role, but it sure is nice when they do.
Now Arkansas enters into a tough 5 game stretch.
@ SCAR, @Bama, Tenn, Flor, and @ Vandy. This can't be an 0-5 run. Arkansas has to take the momentum from this game on the road. They must win the 2nd road game of the Anderson era (a 2nd and a 3rd wouldn't hurt). They would like to hold serve at home and give Florida their first SEC loss of the season (may be possible if Ole Miss can give them a tough game on Saturday before the quick turnaround to the Tuesday game), and it would be a dream if they could make a statement and triple their road wins from last season.
Keep an eye on this formula (Total points for Arkansas - Marshawn Powell Points - BJ Young Points) if the balance is their and the role players can score 40, we're gonna have a good time.