Mike Anderson: Late Game Mistakes Fixable as Hogs Prepare for No. 5 Texas A&M

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson believes late-game mistakes can be fixed as Razorbacks prepare to entertain No. 5 Texas A&M.

Just when it appeared Arkansas was poised to turn the corner, three straight losses have put the Razorbacks on their heels. It doesn't get any easier with No. 5 Texas A&M visiting Bud Walton Arena for an SEC game at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The Hogs lost their third straight game with a 76-73 overtime decision at Georgia. That followed a blowout loss to Kentucky and a 76-74 loss at LSU in which the Hogs had the final shot.

The common theme in the two road losses were turnovers late in the game, including two on inbounds plays. Anderson said there is frustration, especially with a series of turnovers late in the game against Georgia.

"It's tied and we have the ball with 17 seconds left, and we don't get our inbounds play set," Anderson said during a media briefing at Bud Walton Arena on Monday afternoon.

"We had a chance to rebound the ball with the lead earlier and we traveled," Anderson said. "We had 12 turnovers against Georgia, but we had only nine late in the game. So we made a lot there at the end and two quick ones in overtime.

"It's mental breakdowns," Anderson said. "It's at the wrong time. They are fixable. We have to respond to adversity.

"We are playing good basketball. We don't want to play good basketball, we want to play winning basketball.

"We will bounce back. We don't have  a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves. Every game is a big game.

"You may knock me down today, but it's going to be hell tomorrow. That's me. I want our guys to mirror me. We want to try to figure it out against a good A&M team. Our guys are shaken, but not out."

Anderson looked at the three-game losing streak with an easy summation.

"We are leaving plays on the floor," he said. "We are getting to the finish line. But we are not finishing.

"We were right there against LSU. Kentucky played a great game and we weren't in that one at the end, but we were right there against LSU down there, too."

Is it a matter of just practicing those situations more?

"We just have to be locked in," he said. "I don't think we are that far away. We just have to run our out of bounds sets. We have to be mentally dialed in."

Anderson recalled going through similar frustrations two years ago until the Hogs won on a last-second shot at Vanderbilt.

"We went through it then, too," he said. "Then, after that Vandy game, our players saw the light. We are right there now.

"We just have to have have a head out there, someone like a coach," he said. "I remember Ky (Madden) tried to do it, be the hero or the goat and then he figured out he could defer to others. We had a lot of options

"Right now, we don't have a lot of room for error. We just have to have better execution going down the stretch."

Anderson said the Aggies will be a tough challenge, deep and talented. Jalen Jones (17.5) leads a team with eight players averaging over 5 points per game. A&M beat the Hogs, 92-69, in the SEC opener on Jan. 2.

"They have a lot of weapons," Anderson said. "They share the basketball. They get great point guard play with Alex Caruso and Anthony Collins. Collins has really helped them. Now they get rest and they have depth. Tyler Davis, the freshman center, gives  them inside bulk. He's playing well for them."

Senior Danuel House averages 15.3 points and has hit 90 of 132 threes. Six other Aggies have hit at least 16 threes.

The Aggies limit the opposition to just 31.5 percent shooting on threes. The Hogs lead the SEC with 43.4 shooting on threes.

"They have length," Anderson said. "They do a good job on the perimeter. We want to try to get the ball up and down (in a tempo game). We may can get some guys free if we are doing that. But if you are going to come out and play on the perimeter, then that leaves something open. We have to do a good job of attacking the basket."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories