Anderson: Pace Key against Savannah State

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson wants to speed up the pace from his last outing, but Savannah State will try to take the air out of the ball on Thursday night.

Clemson wanted to slow down Arkansas in its last home game. Savannah State will probably want to get the Razorbacks into an even lower gear on Thursday night.

Savannah State (2-8) just lost a 55-50 game at Northern Iowa. The Tigers, coached by John Thompson disciple Horace Broadnax, will take the air out of the ball when they tipoff at 7 p.m. against Arkansas (6-2). That's the scouting report UA coach Mike Anderson delivered in a media briefing Wednesday afternoon.

"Coach Broadnax wants to spread the floor and actually shorten the game," Anderson said. "We will have to ratchet up our defense and create some havoc and at the same time, protect the rim. It will be another game of tempo."

Anderson doesn't just want to do that against the Tigers. He wants more cheap baskets off defense and a faster pace. He thought the Hogs played too slow in a 74-68 victory over Clemson, a game in which the Hogs attempted only 51 shots. Clemson took 61.

"It's about possessions," Anderson said. "I did look at shots. We didn't like that. I want to shoot it 70 times.

"To get there, our defense has to be more aggressive. I didn't think we were attacking as much after we got the lead. You want to be quick, but not in a hurry. It's a process to learn that. We are learning to run.

"I want us to turn up the intensity. Possessions are so important. We have to get more. And we had some opportunities in our last game where, looking at tape, we didn't push the envelope enough. We had chances where we could have pushed it more.

"And our emphasis in helping that is on defense, too. We want to play more multiple defenses. I want it to be such that it leaves the other team guessing. I want to look out there and think to myself that I don't even know what the heck we are doing.

"Defensively, as I watched us on tape, I saw where we didn't rotate with the last guy. Several rotated, but one guy doesn't. I want us to be like a fist."

Savannah State has lost six straight and is 0-5 on the road. The Tigers have no double figure scorers. Senior forward Jyles Smith leads the team with 8.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists. The 6-9 Smith has 30 blocks on the season.

Anderson said it's more about the Hogs than the Tigers. He said there are no easy games despite what the names on the uniforms read.

"Every game is going to be hard for us," he said. "You can't look at the names. Our guys have seen enough basketball to see teams dropping in nonconference. Cal just lost to (UC-Santa Barbara). They went on the road and got beat. There are no easy stretches."

"As Coach says, our next game is the championship game," Bobby Portis said. "You don't worry about the name. You try to get better."

Alandise Harris said, "We just need to go get better and try to execute what we are going to do in SEC play. Get better. That's our goal."

And, Anderson would like to improve rebounding for his birthday present Thursday. He didn't like the 45-31 pounding the Hogs took on the glass against Clemson.

"We have to work on rebounding," Anderson said. "It's got to be more about a mindset. You have to stick your nose in there to get rebounds."

Anderson knows their attacking style on defense will not set players up for rebounds.

"Playing our style, we are probably not going to lead the nation in rebounding," Anderson said, "but rebounding is nothing but effort and toughness even if we are in attack mode on defense. We have guys capable of getting double figure rebounds."

Portis said, "We have worked more on rebounding. There was some mistakes in communications, guys not blocking out and taking plays off."

Harris said, "Everyone has to box out. Me, I'm undersized at 6-5 and so it's going to take more effort and sometimes we might have to tip it away from taller players. We can do that."

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