Anderson: We Didn't Shoot Well

Mike Anderson has a simple explanation for a lopsided loss at Kentucky. He pointed to poor shooting by the Razorbacks.

Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson thinks his team will bounce back from an 84-67 thrashing at No. 1 Kentucky. Pressed for thoughts on the loss in Lexington on Monday's SEC teleconference, Anderson said, "We didn't shoot well."

The Razorbacks missed all nine shots from 3-point range in the first half, made just 30 percent overall in the first half and finished the day at 38 percent. The Hogs were down by as much as 31 with eight minutes to play before a strong finish by Michael Qualls reduced the final margin.

"When you play against a team like Kentucky with strength, depth and size and a team that plays the game the right way, you have got to shoot the ball," Anderson said. "We didn't shoot well and the size becomes a factor on the boards."

Anderson was asked about Anton Beard's off night.

"He'll bounce back," Anderson said. "Our team will bounce back. They shot it well and we didn't shoot it well. It was a great experience for our players to play in Rupp Arena. It was a great experience for Anton.

"He's a freshman and he plays with a great deal of poise. He's been instrumental in us winning seven games in a row. He brings us another ball handler and toughness. He'll bounce back."

The Hogs wrap up the regular season this week with a trip to South Carolina on Thursday, then with a home date with LSU.

Kentucky has clinched the regular season at 16-0. Arkansas (12-4) has a one-game lead on Texas A&M (11-5) for second. LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss are tied at 10-6 for fourth.

The Hogs beat the Gamecocks, 75-55, on Feb. 2 in Fayetteville to continue a long-standing trend of Anderson's teams against those coached by Frank Martin dating back to their days at Missouri and Kansas State in the Big 8. The home team has always won.

"We've been chasing each other all the way back to Conference USA," Martin said. "We've always won on our homecourt, but that has no impact on this game. We'll have to play real well to play with a team like Arkansas."

South Carolina (14-14, 5-11) is coming off a victory over Mississippi State. The Gamecocks have struggled with lack of manpower, something that is better than when Martin's team played in Fayetteville.

"The last time we played, we were practicing with seven guys," Martin said. "We got back to nine and we are in a better place mentally the last time. Our spirit was not where you wanted it last time. I saw us play with confidence and courage against Mississippi State."

Tyrone Johnson scored 26 points to lead the Gamecocks.

"The Johnson kid is really playing a lot better for them," Anderson said. "I think Frank was happy with the way they shot the ball the other night. When we shoot it well, it cures a lot of ills. They can play defense and rebound so when they shoot it well, they become a more potent team.

"We just enter the last week and the games just keep getting bigger. We know a Frank Martin team is going to be physical and play with strength. They are going to put it up on the boards and go get it.

"They have good guards with Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell. And we have to keep Michael Carrera off the boards. It will be interesting to see how our guys respond to a tough loss against a good Kentucky team."

Martin praised the Razorbacks.

"Everyone always talks about the way Arkansas plays defense, but no one gives Mike credit for their offensive presence," Martin said. "They play offense at a high level. They are always among the national leaders in assists per game. This is an Arkansas team that can make a run in the tournament."

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