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Michigan 80, Arkansas 67: The Effort Of Kikko

Confession: I didn't get to watch this game. A scheduling mixup kept me from it. But I did get to hear a few minutes of the second half on the radio and heard Rick Schaeffer exclaim "34 Minutes! Chuck I don't think I've ever seen that before...........34 minutes!"

Gregory Shamus

That was because it took Arkansas until six minutes left in the game to get to the free throw line. Since I didn't watch the game, I won't comment as to whether that sounds like some crap from the officials, but it sounds like it should be. For a team that wants to run as much as Arkansas wants to, getting to the foul line should be routine if they're playing with appropriate aggressiveness.

At that point, Arkansas was desperately trying to figure out a way to pull ahead of the Wolverines after fighting their way to within two points, within two points again, and then within one point, but couldn't quite get over the hurdle.

A quick look at the box score tells me KIKKO HAYDAR HIT 4 THREES AND SCORED 13 POINTS, THE SECOND-HIGHEST ON THE TEAM. WHAT?! I love Kikko as much as everyone else but that should never ever happen. He should never outscore BJ Young, especially when Young plays more minutes. Hunter Mickelson, who's at least a full three feet taller than Kikko, had a decent game with 10 points. Marshawn Powell led the team with 18. Ricky Scott also had one of his better games of the season with 10 points in 19 minutes.

Again, Mardracus Wade has to be more aggressive. For him to play 34 minutes and only take five shots and score 5 points simply is not enough for someone listed among the best shooters in the country.

I was about to paste the AP recap, but it was titled that Michigan's win was a "rout" and that sounds like bullshit, so here's the recap from UA Media Relations:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Arkansas basketball team came within one point of No. 3 Michigan in the second half, but was unable to take the lead from the Wolverines as they fell on the road, 80-67, in a sold out Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Razorbacks were led on the court by junior Marshawn Powell, who tallied 18 points on the day while junior Kikko Haydar came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points including a perfect4-of-4 from the three-point arc.

"Congratulations to Michigan on a hard fought win," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "I was really proud of the effort that our guys gave, but their key players stepped up when they had to. You certainly can’t knock our guys effort and I saw our guys grow up through this stretch of games that we played."

A total of four Razorbacks finished in double-digits, including Haydar and Powell. Sophomore Hunter Mickelsongrabbed 10 points and a team-high five rebounds. Junior Rickey Scott rounded out the Razorbacks finishing in double-digit scoring with 10 points.

In the opening minutes of the first-half the Razorbacks kept it close with their closest margin being a one-point deficit as Powell sank a jumper to bring the Hogs to a score of 12-11 with 15:05 on the clock. However, Michigan would hold the Razorbacks scoreless for the next 5:36 and score 10 points of their own to make the score 22-11. It would take a basket by Young with 9:29 remaining in the first to stop the Razorbacks’ offensive slump and cut the Michigan lead to single-digits, 22-13.

Arkansas’ inability to shoot from the paint in the first forced them to the three-point line. It was Haydar who stepped up for Arkansas in the first. Haydar would go 3-of-3 from the three-point line for nine crucial Razorback points. Haydar would score the final points for Arkansas in the first with 30 seconds on the clock as he sank his third-consecutive trey. With the three-pointer Haydar set a career-high in points (9) and three-point field goals made (3). The Razorbacks entered the locker room at half down by 10, 42-32.

"Kikko and Rickey gave us quality minutes off the bench," Anderson said.

Leading Arkansas in the first was Powell with 11 points and two boards. In the first only four Razorbacks had points on the board: Powell (11), Young (9), Haydar (9) and Scott (3). Arkansas’ rebounding troubles cost them as the Wolverines out-rebounded the Razorbacks 21-12 in the first.

Arkansas got off to a swift start in the second half going on a 13-4 run to close the gap to two 47-45. A one-handed dunk by Hunter Mickelson put the Hogs within two. With 9:24 on the clock Scott drained a three-pointer to bring the Hogs within one-point of the Wolverine lead, 54-53. The Wolverines would pick up the pace soon after that, going on a 26-14 run to close out the game with a final score of 80-67.

"I thought that our pressure really disrupted them in the second half," Anderson said. "I thought that they got fatigued."

The Razorbacks will return to Bud Walton Arena next Saturday to take on Alcorn State on Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on RSN.