There was a whole lot of scoring going on at Walton Arena Sunday afternoon, but the message from Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson following the scrimmage was that it’s time for the Razorbacks to turn up the defensive heat.
The Whites posted a 112-102 victory over the Reds with sophomores Jacorey Williams, Michael Qualls and Anthlon Bell combining for 60 points to lead the charge.
Arkansas vs. Missouri Southern
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1
Location: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Ark.
“I think you can see that we will be able to score some points this season,” Anderson said, “but we are going to hang our hat on defense.”
Williams, who led the Whites with 21 points, echoed Anderson’s thought.
“We’re going to play defense,” Williams said. “Coach A is on our heads about defense all the time. We know how important it is.”
Williams showed excellent athletic ability in flashes as a freshman, but never let the game come to him. He played relaxed and with confidence Sunday night, however, hitting 9 of 11 shots and 3 of 5 three pointers.
“He played with a little swagger,” Anderson said. “Jacorey is a skilled forward. We have a lot of skilled forwards and that gives us a lot of versatility. We can play as big as we want and we can go as small as we want.”
Bell rang up 19 for the Reds, hitting 5 of 9 treys as well as passing out four assists. Qualls added 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, while Mardracus Wade scored 19 for the Whites.
“Anthlon shot well, but I think he’s becoming more than just a 3-point shooter. The same for Qualls. He’s becoming more than just a highlight and is becoming a complete player. You can see the improvement.”
Bell said his teammates were the key to his shooting.
“Getting good passes from our teammates makes the difference,” Bell said. “The way we share the basketball, I think we’re going to score plenty. It might be someone different every night.”
Coty Clarke had a double-double for the Whites with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“I was proud of Coty,” Anderson said. “He didn’t chase the game. He let it flow naturally. He’s playing really well.
The Whites led by more than 20 points, but the Reds made a late run to cut the deficit to 10.
“I think the Whites let off the pedal, but the Reds did some good things, too.” Anderson said.
Alandise Harris led all scorers with 26 points and also grabbed 9 rebounds for the Red squad. Rashad Madden and Fayetteville native Fred Gulley each scored 24 for the Reds with Madden dishing out a game-high nine assists and Gulley 5.
Highly touted freshman Bobby Portis added 18 points and 5 rebounds for the Reds.
“I think you can see that Bobby is a highly skilled player, who is really going to help us,” Anderson said.
Anderson said Portis can help defend around the basket with his 6-10 height, and that he is not opposed to playing the Little Rock native with fellow 6-10 freshman Moses Kingsley.
“I call them the Twin Towers,” Anderson said. “I think we’re going to be able to play them together and be effective, but we’re going to have to see how things go when we play against a team that doesn’t care anything about us.”
Harris, who played in the Red-White game last season before redshirting after transferring from Houston, is glad the scrimmage is just the start of his season rather than his only chance to play.
“I’m glad there is a lot more basketball ahead of me,” the Little Rock native said.
Anderson likes the competition he is seeing in practice and said it will determine who and how much everyone plays.
“We have a lot more options this year,” Anderson said. “We’re going to be deep, but I can’t play everyone a one time. The competition is to work all that out.”