FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas defeated its highest-ranked opponent since 1999 when the Razorbacks beat No. 2 Florida Tuesday, but the team’s road struggles continued Saturday against Vanderbilt.
The Gators lost 80-69 to Arkansas in a week of basketball that ended with four of the nation’s top five teams (Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Kansas) falling victim to shocking upsets. Unfortunately for Arkansas, the road Razorbacks were anything but surprising at Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tenn. The Razorbacks were defeated 67-49 by the Commodores and remain winless away from the Natural State this season.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Michael Qualls doesn’t chalk up his recent success to simply maturing as a freshman.
He realizes practice, experience and patience are all part of the equation. But when Qualls was asked what has changed with his play, he pointed to a subtle move made by coach Mike Anderson after Arkansas returned from its last road trip.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has most of its pitching staff returning.
The outfield starts the season with returners Matt Vinson, Jacob Morris and Joe Serrano competing for positions. Catcher Jake Wise is back behind the plate, too.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson didn’t know if his team was still thinking about its 80-69 win against No. 2 Florida before practice Thursday.
But Anderson vowed that visions of the program’s biggest win wouldn’t linger as the Razorbacks started preparation for their next game.
FAYETTEVILLE — South Plantation (Fla.) High running back Alex Collins was introduced as the 23rd member of Arkansas’ 2013 signing class on Thursday.
It doesn’t mean the bizarre saga involving his mother, who has a different idea about where the 18-year-old should attend college, is completely over.
FAYETTEVILLE — Austin Allen, Alex Brignoni and Brooks Ellis helped Fayetteville climb to the top of Arkansas high school football. Wednesday, the three longtime friends and Bulldog teammates officially began their quest to help Arkansas climb to the top of the Southeastern Conference.
Allen, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback, Ellis, a 6-3, 220-pound linebacker, and Brignoni, a 6-1, 195-pound free safety, were the backbone of Fayetteville’s Class 7A state championship teams the past two seasons. Now, they’ll continue on as teammates as each signed National Letters of Intent with Arkansas.
GREENWOOD — Drew Morgan used a football analogy to describe his oral commitment to the Arkansas Razorbacks in December when the team was without a head coach.
“I took a leap of faith and went for it on fourth-and-1,” Morgan said.
OSCEOLA — Korliss Marshall will tell you there were many times he worried that Wednesday’s celebration would never materialize. Yet here he was on National Signing Day, standing in front of the entire student body and calling the Hogs with his high school head coach, Russell Leggett.
A week ago he was meeting with University of Arkansas football coaches, hoping that their trip to see him would include an offer. Now the Osceola star running back is one of seven in-state players who will head to Fayetteville this summer on a football scholarship.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas was dealing with some signing day drama Wednesday with running back Alex Collins. But new running backs coach Joel Thomas said it’s definitely not the first time the unexpected has happened for him in recruiting.
In fact, Thomas used a familiar name to Arkansas fans as an example Wednesday.
FAYETTEVILLE — The signing day board in the Miller Room had 22 names on it when Arkansas coach Bret Bielema walked in and sat on stage Wednesday.
It included four offensive linemen who will build the foundation for Arkansas’ ground game. There were eight in-state players who reached long-time dreams of playing for the Hogs. There were athletes Hawaii and Australia.
WHY ARKANSAS WON: Arkansas baffled Florida with a blistering start, scoring its first nine points on 3-pointers. It was part of a first half in which the Razorbacks — who have struggled from long range all season — made seven 3-pointers. The shooting success played a big role in helping Arkansas build a 39-16 lead. Arkansas eventually cooled off and finished 8-for-18 from 3-point range, but the performance was enough to carry the Razorbacks to their most impressive win of the season.
WHY FLORIDA LOST: Florida simply walked into a buzz saw in the first half in Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday night. The Razorbacks put pressure on the Gators with a hot start offensively and forced the veteran team into a handful of mistakes as well with solid defense. Florida mounted a second half comeback, but going 7-for-24 from the field in the first half with seven turnovers proved costly in its first SEC loss.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell noticed something different in the locker room before Tuesday’s game against No. 2 Florida.
It was quiet. It was intense. The Razorbacks understood the opportunity that awaited them against the Southeastern Conference’s top team. So much they didn’t need coach Mike Anderson to say anything to them before they took the court.
FAYETTEVILLE — Doug Gatewood has coached in South Florida for years.
So South Plantation High’s coach has worked with his share of athletes who have been coveted by college programs. He has watched recruiters come and go, making sales pitches to coaches, administrators, prospects and families alike.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitchers Colin Poche and Adam Meyer have been suspended for the season-opening series against Western Illinois.
The punishments came after the two were arrested for shoplifting last month, taking two cases of beer and two sandwiches from a local Wal-Mart according to the incident report. Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn announced the suspensions of both players after Monday’s Swatter’s Club meeting.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Mike Anderson doesn’t need a reminder of how dominant Florida has been in Southeastern Conference play this season.
He and the Razorbacks got a glimpse of just how good the Gators could be last season, when Florida handed Arkansas its first home loss. It wasn’t just any loss, either. The 98-68 blowout was Arkansas’ worst ever in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE — Bret Bielema has secured a verbal commitment from his first high-profile player since becoming Arkansas’ coach on Dec. 4.
South Plantation (Fla.) High running back Alex Collins announced his plans to sign with the Razorbacks on national signing day. Collins revealed his college choice during a live television broadcast on Fox Sports South on Monday night.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard BJ Young isn’t used to coming off the bench.
The Razorbacks’ leading scorer has started 18 times in 19 games this season.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas added to its road woes during the 59-56 loss at Alabama on Thursday night, falling to 0-7 in games outside of the state.
But there’s good news for the Razorbacks as they prepare for their next conference game today: Arkansas is back in Bud Walton Arena, where it is 11-1. And its opponent — Tennessee — is struggling on the road as well.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Trevor Lacey and Levi Randolph hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 17 seconds and Alabama held on for a 59-56 victory over Arkansas on Thursday night.
Lacey scored 14 points for the Crimson Tide (13-7, 5-2 Southeastern Conference), which held on for a fifth win in six games after losing 54-53 at Tennessee when he couldn't get off a final shot.
FAYETTEVILLE – Former Arkansas coaches Paul Petrino, Paul Haynes and John L. Smith told The Sporting News they believed some members of the 2012 quit on the staff during the Razorbacks’ 4-8 season.
It’s no surprise a few former Razorbacks disagreed after the story was published.