B.J. Young poured in 28 points, Hunter Mickelson 20 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks and freshman shooting guard Anthlon Bell added 19 points as they led the Red to a 85-75 win over the White at Bud Walton Arena.
Rashad Madden added 6 points and 10 rebounds for the Red squad as the two teams struggled early before settling in and giving the fans a good show ahead of Friday's exhibition opener with Southwest (MO) Baptist.
"I thought the guys got into a rhythm and started playing much better than they did earlier in the game," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought early you saw the classic case of lights, camera and action early on for some of these guys, especially some of these freshmen.
"It's one thing in practice and even as we went to play the games over in Italy," Anderson added. "Once you start getting officials and you start getting fans and you can see eyes getting a little glassy, a little tight. But once we got into the flow I think you saw some of the guys bring their practice to the game."
The White also had it share of stars with Marshawn Powell pouring in 22 points and grabbing six rebounds while Rickey Scott added 13 points, Kikko Haydar 11, Davion Spivey 10 and Coty Clarke 8 points and 11 rebounds.
Powell, who had 16 of his 22 points in the second half, continues his recovery from last season's injury that limited him to two games.
"He is slowly getting the feel for playing and playing at that pace of game," Anderson said. "I thought he was a little rusty early on, but then he got into a little bit more of an attack mode and got to the free throw line."
Mickelson's all-around effort was the biggest thing that stood out to Anderson, who allowed Pat Bradley to coach the winning Red team and media members to coach the White.
"I thought Hunter was certainly a bright spot and that is what Hunter has been doing probably the last week of practice – averaging almost double figure rebounding," Anderson said. "That is the most active I have seen him in terms of blocking shots. He looked like that guy last year where anything that came down that lane, he was contesting it."
Mickelson, who swatted away 72 shots his rookie season, said he was just doing his job.
"This is what I needed to do," Mickelson said. "I know they are my teammates, but we were on opposite sides. I am just kind of hoping to keep it up."
Young had 18 of his 28 points after intermission, which found the Red up 39-34.
He also had four assists and five rebounds.
"BJ is a much better player from last year," Anderson said. "We'll see as the season continues on. The thing I like about him is that we know he can get to the basket and score and pull up and hit shots, but he was also distributing the basketball. Even the pass he threw behind his back to Hunter where Hunter knocked down a 15-footer. He also was finding Anthlon in transition."
Scott says that makes Young even more difficult to defend.
"He is just so fast that it is hard to keep up with him," Scott said. "We all have eyes on him and he just kicks it out to one of these guys and so it is hard playing against him."
One of those guys he kicked it out to was Bell, who was a big-time shooter last season for Bartlett (TN) High.
"I thought he really had a nice little rhythm," Anderson said. "You see he is a guy that can knocked down shots and our guys found him – whether it be in the open court or going inside first."
Bell had several shots rim in and out during the team's four-game exhibition of Italy in August and was happy to see his shots go down on Tuesday night.
He was 5-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc in the win.
"I just had to get my confidence up by getting extra shots after practice," Bell said. "I had to just believe in the coaches saying that it was going to come in transition."
Mickelson knows Bell's shooting could have an impact this season.
"He shot great and he's got it in him and he is definitely a great shooter," Mickelson said. "There is always going to be a transition, but it looks like he has got the swing back."
The Red also got a strong performance from redshirting junior forward Alandise Harris, who had 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
"He (Harris) is a physical presence," Anderson said. "He is really skillful and crafty around the basket. He can step outside, he distributes the basketball and he gets those tough rebound. He is very versatile. He will have a chance to help us each and every day. This was like his tournament game."
Former Fayetteville High star Fred Gulley, who will become eligible in December after transferring from Oklahoma State in the middle of last season, had four points in 12 minutes of action.
Mardracus Wade – who had an off-shooting night while going 1-of-7 from the field, added seven points for the White and Michael Qualls two for the Red.
Freshmen Jacorey Williams and Dee Wagner and walk on Charlie Henderson all played, but were scoreless.
"We were just going out there and trying to have fun and play hard for the fans," Mickelson said. "It was a good experience. Everybody worked hard."
All photos by Marc F. Henning
Hunter Mickelson slams one home.
BJ Young gets in the lane for two of his game-high 28 points.
Alandise Harris hauls in a rebound between Mardracus Wade and Marshawn Powell.
Coty Clarke gets a pass away while being guarded by Rashad Madden.
Kikko Haydar had all 11 of his points in the first half.