On Tuesday night, Arkansas and Utah Valley served up some of the worst – a pre-Thanksgiving turkey of a contest.
But both games turned into wins – the latter because of a 11-0 spree at the end as the home team scored 13 of the game's last 14 points.
"We found a way to win and that's the bottom line," noted Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson, whose team found out earlier in the day that star Marshawn Powell would be lost for the season due to torn ligaments in his knee.
"We are certainly happy to get the win,"Anderson said. "It certainly was not a thing of beauty, but at the same time we played a game down in (North) Little Rock and it wasn't a thing of beauty against Houston (an 87-78 loss). We came out out on the wrong end of it.
"You can always learn in a game of this type," Anderson added. "We didn't shoot the ball well, the rhythm of the game was favoring Utah Valley in the first half. It just seemed like we in a fog. The second half I thought BJ Young came out and just injected a lot of energy into our basketball team."
Mardracus Wade added 11 for Arkansas (3-1), including a 3-pointer that gave the Razorbacks a 60-58 lead with 2:49 remaining and also took two key charges late.
The Wolverines led 58-54 with 3:48 remaining, but did not score a field goal from that point on.
"From a teaching and learning standpoint, I thought we showed some resolve," Anderson said. "We didn't panic. We were out there with two freshmen and two sophomores and a junior. Those guys found a way to finish out, to finish out with an 11-0 run."
Wade said that Anderson challenged his players in a timeout that occurred after Geddes Robinson put in a lay up that gave Utah Valley a 56-52 lead with 4:58 remaining.
"Coach was like we need some fight in us, we need some dog in us," Wade said. "My main thing coming out was I said 'we need stops.' I wasn't worried about my offense. Whatever I had to do to help these team win that was what I was going to do."
Anderson said he did indeed tell his players it was time to make plays defensively and on the boards.
"I just told them that 'hey, fellas, we have got to start making some stops and keeping them off the boards. It is time for somebody to step up to the plate,'" Anderson said. Nobles' old-fashioned 3-point play cut it 58-57 with 3:41 left and and then Wade took a charge on the other end.
He found himself wide open and drained his third 3-pointer of the game to send Arkansas ahead for good with 2:50 left.
The Razorbacks won despite shooting just 33.3 percent (20-of-60) from the field.
"Offense comes and goes," Anderson said. "It sure went tonight."
The Razorbacks did so by hitting 20 of their 24 free throws, forcing 18 turnovers and limiting Utah Valley (3-2) to just 34.7 shooting from the floor.
"When you don't shoot it well, you have got to do some other things," Anderson said. "Their best offense - talking about Utah Valley - was to shoot it and go get it."
"It was a tough game," Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "Arkansas has an athletic, quick team and applied a lot of pressure to us, disrupted us and turned us over a lot in the first half...They were just a little too much for us tonight."
Arkansas had twice as many free throws as the visitors.
"They attacked the basket and were rewarded for it," Hunsaker noted.
Utah Valley dominated Arkansas on the board to the tune of 51-41, but the Razorbacks did grab some key ones late.
Robinson had 12 points and 15 of those boards, 10 of the offensive end, while center Ben Aird had 14 boards to go along with his 12 points.
"That is what he does," Anderson said. "Last year, I think he was like ninth in the nation in rebounding at 6-5. That just shows you that a guy that wants it can go get it. We have got to find somebody on our team to do that."
"They were playing very small," Hunsaker said. "They were playing guards. They were playing literally a line up of four guards and a small forward. So our size was able top stay active and find some success on the backboards, particularly in the second half."
Young was the guy on this night with 11 rebounds - eight of which came after halftime.
"I'll do anything to help my team win," Young said. "I just want to will my team to the win any kind of way I can."
Freshman forward DeVonta Abron, who started the game and finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 19 minutes of action.
"I thought he came out and did well for us," Anderson said. "In the second half there were some times when he could have kicked it back out, but I liked his aggressiveness. I like his physicalness."
Rickey Scott added 8 points and 4 assists for Arkansas.
Arkansas will return to action Saturday night when it hosts Grambling.
"I think we still have a pretty good team and have a pretty good chance to do some special things," Young said. "We just have to regroup. I know we lost probably our best player and our leading scorer and rebounder, but we have to regroup and everybody step up their level of play."
BJ Young had 18 points and 11 rebounds - both tops this season for the freshman guard from St. Louis.
Young played a career-high 31 minutes.
Mardracus Wade picked up two big charges late to go along with his 11 points.
Julysess Nobles drives the lane for two of his 14 points.
DeVonta Abron started and had 8 points. 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 19 minutes of action.
Rickey Scott had 8 points and 4 assists in the win.
Arkansas freshmen Rashad Madden (00) and Hunter Mickelson sandwich Utah Valley's Ben Aird at the free throw line.
Michael Sanchez works inside against Aird.
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson looks up at the scoreboard assistants TJ Cleveland and Matt Zimmerman and Abron eye the court.
All Photos by Marc F. Henning