Freshman Anthlon Bell poured in a game-high 17 points and junior Marshawn Powell added 16 points and five rebounds as Arkansas routed Division II Southwest Baptist 106-78 Friday night in its first of two exhibition games.
Sophomore Hunter Mickelson added 11 points and junior guard Rickey Scott and high-flying freshman Michael Qualls both added 10 in the contest.
"It was the first game and you never know how these guys are going to come out and play against an opponent," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "Southwest Baptist had some guys that can really shoot the basketball, but I thought our defense really kept them off kilter starting the game. They were rushing their shots. We were pretty active. I think we had 24 deflections in the first half. That tells me how active we were.
"We were active – it seemed like – all night long and it didn't matter who I brought in the game," Anderson added.
Arkansas raced out to a big lead early and went on to grab a 50-28 halftime lead when Qualls threw down a one-handed rebound slam right before the buzzer.
"The first group with Mickelson, Powell, (Rashad) Madden, (Mardracus) Wade and Scott," Anderson said, "I thought those guys did a good job of setting the tone from a defensive standpoint, of sharing the basketball, taking advantage of the size that we had and the athletic ability."
B.J. Young – Arkansas' most talented player – came off the bench and added nine points and four assists while playing with a group of four newcomers that included Bell.
"…The second unit came in and I thought BJ did a good job of igniting that young group," Anderson said. "He led that young group. That's what I wanted to see. I kind of platooned them tonight just to see what they bring to the table because they go against each other every day in practice so you want to come out and se how they perform."
Bell had his 17 points in just 14 minutes while going 6-of-8 from the field and knocking down five 3-pointers.
"When I am out there, I don't want to be out there wasting time," Bell said. "I want to make an impact."
"He is a young guy that kind of has a quiet nice game," Anderson said. "He can definitely knock down shots and that is what we want him to do. I like his basketball IQ."
Powell continued to impress as he comes back off an injury that limited him to two games last season.
He was 6-of-11 from the field, knocked down all three of his free throws and one of his two three-point attempts.
Powell also added three steals, a block and an assist.
"It was good to see number 33 (Powell) back out there and you could just see that he brings a presence that we are going to need," Anderson said. "He will hopefully be able to get Hunter going, get our guards going."
Arkansas forced 26 turnovers on the night while playing 12 players at least 10 minutes with no one playing more than 19.
"I was glad I had a chance to play some of those guys so they got a chance to show us, show me, show our staff what they can bring to the table," Anderson said. "They brought energy."
Arkansas shot 52.8 percent from the field and was 24-of-26 from the free throw line with Scott going 5-for-5 and Wade 4-of-4 to lead the way.
The Razorbacks were also 6-of-14 from behind the three-point line on a night when they had plenty of assists.
Scott, Wade, Young and freshman Dee Wagner all had four assists to lead the way while freshman Jacorey Williams (6 points) led the rebounding list with seven boards while Powell and Qualls had five each.
"We had 26 assists on 38 field goals," Anderson said. "Free throws – we know how that is – if I could bottle it and sell it then I would be a rich man. We shoot 24-of-26, but the key to me is getting to the free throw line. We did a good job of getting to the free throw line."
Arkansas will finish its exhibition season Monday night at 7 p.m. when it hosts Lemoyne-Owen, a Division II school from Memphis.
"We just have to continue to work and put it together," Anderson said. "This could be a team that if they continue to do the things that we ask them to do and they develop could really be a team to reckon with."
Michael Qualls gets one of his three rebound dunks on the night.
Anthlon Bell lets fly of one of his picture-perfect jump shots.
Arkansas star BJ Young gets the basket for two of his nine points.
Marshawn Powell scores inside on a night when he had 16 points.
Jacorey Williams had six points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Arkansas assistant coach Matt Zimmerman and Rickey Scott celebrate the win.
All photos by Marc F. Henning