When Marshawn Powell tore his anterior cruciate ligament last November, he approached the injury with the mindset of improving despite his physical limitations.
Powell dropped around 15 pounds and from a scooter began working on his shot. The work has yielded visible improvement early on this season with Powell leading the team in scoring (16.6 points per game) and 3-point percentage (50).
"The whole time I was hurt, the only thing I could do was just shoot the ball," Powell said. "I learned my touch.
"During practice, I would watch the guys on the floor while I was just over on the sideline shooting the ball. It has worked out for me."
Powell scored 19 points against Syracuse and a team-high 18 points at Michigan. He had 18 points in only 19 minutes of play in the Razorbacks' blowout win over Alcorn State on Saturday.
"It shows his versatility," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "He's not just predicating his game on 3-point shooting. He's taking when it's there, but at the same time he's getting it inside and getting to the line.
"I think shooting is all about confidence and obviously he's playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Powell has hit 11 of 22 attempts from beyond the arc this season, including 8 of 12 against Oklahoma, Michigan and Alcorn State.
Over that time, Arkansas as a team has began to shoot the ball better as well, hitting 29 of 63 3-point attempts.
"We've got a guy we can get it to who can really make it happen," Anderson said. "It's not just scoring. Marshawn is also a really gifted passer.
"I think it presents problems for people. You've got to figure out how you want to play him. We can really space the floor."
Anderson will likely need Powell at his best again on Thursday as the Razorbacks (5-4) host Robert Morris (7-4).
The Colonials have five players on their roster who played during the program's last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. It also has five additional upperclassmen who are juniors.
Arkansas presents the Colonials' toughest challenge since a 61-59 loss to Xavier on Nov. 17. Robert Morris is 6-1 since, with its only loss an upset at Savannah State last month.
"They're more than dangerous, they're a very good basketball team," Anderson said. "They're very explosive. It's a big game for us and I'm sure it's a big game they have circled on their schedule as well.
"They like to play uptempo. They don't like to just hold the basketball. It should be a fun game for our fans."