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Razorback’s loss to Bulldogs “most galling”
FAYETTEVILLE - Of the four SEC losses for these now 9-10 overall 13-4 in the SEC Razorbacks, Arkansas’ 76-73 loss last Saturday to the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. seems the most galling.
Ironically, it’s because this loss most mirrors Arkansas’ best played of those SEC losses, the 76-74 defeat on Jan. 16 at LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
The Hogs were drilled 92-69 in the SEC opener Jan. 20 at Texas A&M.
Not such a surprise in retrospect. These Hogs were still adjusting on Jan. 2  to losing turned pro underclassmen Bobby Portis, the All-American and last year’s SEC Player of the Year, and human highlight film Michael Qualls plus graduating 2014-2015 senior starters Ky Madden and Alandise Harris. And A&M, 17-2 overall and 7-0 in the SEC, has played better than anybody in the SEC.
Still the Razorbacks would be ready for Wednesday’s  6 p.m. rematch with the Aggies at Walton Arena it was presumed upon Arkansas consecutively defeating SEC foes Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Missouri and coming  close at LSU.
Since losing at  LSU, the Hogs consecutively lost 80-66 to Kentucky at Walton and then lost to Georgia in overtime at Athens.
The Razorbacks laid an egg in their loss to Kentucky before 18,588, by far the biggest crowd come to Walton to see the Hogs play this season.
Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks may have been primed for what former Arkansas Coach Eddie Sutton used to call “beyond the magic level” when a team’s anticipatory big-game adrenaline flows too soon.
Or maybe the Hogs tried too hard to keep this in an every game should be the same perspective and never got properly up for Kentucky.
Whatever, the Razorbacks  played flat all night at Walton. 
At Athens, they put together much what came apart  in Fayetteville yet lost again. They lost in Athens they lost like at LSU  complete with another  botched inbounds play.
“I told our guys, ‘You can’t keep repeating,” Anderson said  during Saturday’s postgame in Athens of Arkansas mistakes.  “We have to learn and learn how to finish.”
Anderson recited a litany of woes: The Hogs misfiring free throws so badly they connected only 17 of 28, to the travel called on Dusty Hannahs as he fell gathering a key late rebound and of course yet another key late game inbounds turnover.




Razorback’s loss to Bulldogs “most galling”
FAYETTEVILLE - Of the four SEC losses for these now 9-10 overall 13-4 in the SEC Razorbacks, Arkansas’ 76-73 loss last Saturday to the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. seems the most galling.
Ironically, it’s because this loss most mirrors Arkansas’ best played of those SEC losses, the 76-74 defeat on Jan. 16 at LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
The Hogs were drilled 92-69 in the SEC opener Jan. 20 at Texas A&M.
Not such a surprise in retrospect. These Hogs were still adjusting on Jan. 2  to losing turned pro underclassmen Bobby Portis, the All-American and last year’s SEC Player of the Year, and human highlight film Michael Qualls plus graduating 2014-2015 senior starters Ky Madden and Alandise Harris. And A&M, 17-2 overall and 7-0 in the SEC, has played better than anybody in the SEC.
Still the Razorbacks would be ready for Wednesday’s  6 p.m. rematch with the Aggies at Walton Arena it was presumed upon Arkansas consecutively defeating SEC foes Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Missouri and coming  close at LSU.
Since losing at  LSU, the Hogs consecutively lost 80-66 to Kentucky at Walton and then lost to Georgia in overtime at Athens.
The Razorbacks laid an egg in their loss to Kentucky before 18,588, by far the biggest crowd come to Walton to see the Hogs play this season.
Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks may have been primed for what former Arkansas Coach Eddie Sutton used to call “beyond the magic level” when a team’s anticipatory big-game adrenaline flows too soon.
Or maybe the Hogs tried too hard to keep this in an every game should be the same perspective and never got properly up for Kentucky.
Whatever, the Razorbacks  played flat all night at Walton. 
At Athens, they put together much what came apart  in Fayetteville yet lost again. They lost in Athens they lost like at LSU  complete with another  botched inbounds play.
“I told our guys, ‘You can’t keep repeating,” Anderson said  during Saturday’s postgame in Athens of Arkansas mistakes.  “We have to learn and learn how to finish.”
Anderson recited a litany of woes: The Hogs misfiring free throws so badly they connected only 17 of 28, to the travel called on Dusty Hannahs as he fell gathering a key late rebound and of course yet another key late game inbounds turnover.




Bulldogs defeat first place conference team in overtime
Malvern brought their A - game to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 12, but between the Waldron Bulldogs secure a win in overtime 73 to 65.
The first half ended with a one-point marginal, Waldron 28 and Malvern 27. Both sides of the court intensified during second half play causing a technical to be called on the Malvern head coach as well as a Leopard team member. At the end, the Waldron Bulldogs defeated the Leopards, who were first in the conference.




Bulldogs dominate Miners on the road, 62-49; Lady Bulldogs suffer a loss
The Waldron Bulldogs Lady Bulldogs were on the road at Bauxite on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 to take on the Miners. The starting line- up for the Lady Bulldogs were Kalle Graves , Morgan Langley, Lauren Hart, Faith Boyd , and Wintney Powell. The jump ball was received by Bauxite which led to the first basket for the night by the Lady Miners. The Lady Miners kept their lead with the first quarter score 18-2 and at the half the Lady Bulldogs were in the deficit 47-7.
Despite returning from the half with a fight, the Lady Bulldogs continued to fall; 61 to 15 at the end of the 3rd quarter and a final score of 77-19. The top scorers for Waldron were Kalle Graves with 6 points, Faith and Lauren with 4 points. No comments were made by team members.




Razorbacks stole victory in OT against Vanderbilt
FAYETTEVILLE -  Arkansas periodically lost grip of the game but the Vanderbilt Commodores constantly lost grip of the ball.
So despite losing a 45-32 second half  lead in just 6 minutes and 9 seconds and losing a 2-point lead on a 94-feet inbounds pass and dunk in the final 2.2 seconds of the 82-82 regulation and quickly  trailing by three during the overtime, Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks stole a  90-85 victory  evening their overall and SEC records at 7-7 and 1-1 going into Saturday afternoon’s SEC game against Mississippi State at Walton.
 Coach Kevin Stallings’ Commodores fell to 8-6, 0-2 committing 26 turnovers, including five in overtime,  against the defensively opportunistic Hogs. Outscored 29-9 off turnovers, Vandy’s fate was sealed with its final turnover, a  steal  by  Arkansas point guard Jabril Durham off Vandy point guard Wade Baldwin drawing a Baldwin foul  with  seconds left and Arkansas up 88-85.
Durham sank both and the Hogs sealed the 90-85 victory they appeared to have won 82-80  in regulation on Anthlon Bell’s sixth 3-pointer  with 2.2 seconds left.
Anderson called timeout to set the defense but still the Hogs miscommunicated, Anderson said.
A switch that  Anderson said they weren’t supposed to make   left 7-foot center Damian Jones guarded by 6-foot guard Anton Beard when 7-footer Luke Kornet heaved the inbounds pass that Jones dunked to tie it at the buzzer.
“Kevin drew something up and it worked,” Anderson said.
0-2 in previous overtime game vs. Mercer at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock and at Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, the Hogs didn’t collapse into “panic mode,” Anderson said, when all seemed slipping away again with Jones’ devastating dunk into OT.
“Disbelief,” Anderson said chuckling,   “but not a panic mode. I thought they showed a lot of heart when they went back out there and started getting stops and we saw them turn the ball over. I really believe fatigue was a factor. As we got into that extra period I thought our guys had a lot more energy than Vanderbilt did.”
Certainly they had more ball control.
“ We just had too many breakdowns in the end to be able to win the game,” Stallings said. “We gave a good effort, but didn't take care of the ball well.”
It’s a tribute to both teams that either had energy given the various ups and downs that each team weathered and some of the outstanding individual performances fashioned.
For Arkansas, Bell, 6 of 10 on threes, scored a game leading 26 points while center Moses Kingsley scored 25 with eight rebounds and four steals while Durham scored 11, dished six assists and made four crucial steals including the game-winner.




The many ways of a running back
Fayetteville - Running backs routinely get one-dimensionally categorized: Power back, speed back, blocking back …
A truly great back gets  described in many ways because he does so many things in so many ways that sometimes seem contradictory.
Apparently Alex Collins is truly a great running back. Certainly the Arkansas Razorbacks and, ruefully, the Kansas State Wildcats, think so.
How could they not after Collins, voted both the Liberty Bowl MVP and Arkansas’ Outstanding Offensive Player, led the Razorbacks’45-23 rout of the Wildcats last Saturday at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis?
On 23 carries, the Razorbacks’ junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. netted 185 yards and three touchdowns, returned a kickoff 68-yards setting up receiver Jared Cornelius’ end-around touchdown run, and helped pass protect Brandon Allen while the Arkansas senior quarterback closed his career with a banner day completing 20 of 26 for 315 yards and a touchdown after shrugging off throwing an interception three plays into the game.
Collins’ performance drew accolades from all directions to be oxymoronic like powerfully patient or explosively visionary.
Here is a sampling of how K-State Coach Bill Snyder, K-State defensive lineman Travis Britz and cornerback Morgan Burns described Collins variously running away from, running over, running through and dragging behind him various Wildcats.
To Snyder of the Big 12’s Wildcats, Collins, 5-11, 215, stands out in the SEC even with SEC champion and national championship game bound Alabama boasting Heisman Trophy winning running back Derrick Henry and LSU boasting Leonard Fournette, the Heisman Trophy favorite until running into an Alabama defensive wall on a night that Henry excelled to dominate
“You have a plethora of young, exciting running backs in the SEC and he’s at the top of the list,” Snyder said. “He breaks a lot of tackles and makes you miss when he gets on the edge which is what he did today. He is one of those guys that has a lot of talent in terms of changing direction and has a lot of ability  that sometimes goes unnoticed
when you are carrying that type of size around. He got a lot of help, too up front. They have some pretty good-sized guys.”
Britz said seeing is believe when you see how Collins can see.
“What I noticed about Alex today is he has great vision,” Britz said. “Especially when he picks a hole. And his offensive linemen did a great job blocking us today.”




Waldron to play in Frye Basketball Classic
As football bowl season gets underway, a local alternative awaits the rabid basketball fan. Mansfield High School on December 28, 29, and 30 will host a 16 game schedule holiday hoop fest in the annual Bill Frye Senior High Tournament.
Eight local teams including the defending girls’ champion Vian will attend the three day tournament. Along with the Oklahoma power team, Booneville, Hackett, Lamar, Magazine, Magazine JV, Waldron, and of course host Mansfield will be in action.
The high school basketball classic that includes both men and women’s contests is named after recently retired Mansfield coaching legend Bill Frye. Frye, the orchestrator of 400 basketball victories, retired this past school year from public education as the school’s winningest basketball coach.
The first day’s game schedule includes 4 men’s games and 2 women’s contests. 
The Lamar Warriors tip off the festivities against the Magazine Rattlers with a noon opener on Monday, December 28. The Waldron Bulldogs, the men’s number one seed, will go against Magazine’s JV immediately following with a 1:30 PM start.
Magazine and Waldron are scheduled in the women’s opener. That first female contest starts at 3:00 PM on day one.
Mansfield’s Lady Tigers give prime time viewers the marquee women’s matchup on the first night. The host school takes on the Lady Bearcats of Booneville with a 6:00 PM Monday evening tipoff.
Booneville’s men precede their female counterparts with a 4:30 PM start. The Bearcats are placed against 2015 finalist Vian, the men’s number two seed.
The Mansfield men get the nod for the day one nightcap. The Tigers take on Hackett in what looks to be a highly competitive opening round contest with a 7:30 PM tipoff.




Morgan, Greenwood native, gets notice
A 17-0 Arkansas run dBrandon Allen didn’t get the AP All-SEC recognition that Arkansas fans hoped for the Razorbacks senior quarterback after he wasn’t named to the SEC Coaches All-SEC teams, but junior receiver Drew Morgan of Greenwood got noticed this time around.
Morgan’s 55 catches for 751 yards include a SEC leading 10 touchdowns, including a SEC leading eight for SEC games, and three games exceeding 100 receiving yards.
Allen plays a part in many  awards this season. For the 7-5 Liberty Bowl bound Razorbacks matched against Kansas State Jan. 2 in Memphis, AP All-Americans Hunter Henry, the Mackey Award winner as the nation’s best tight end, and left guard Sebastian Tretola, were named first-team All-SEC by the AP like they were by the coaches while running back Alex Collins and right offensive tackle Dan Skipper were named second-team on both the Coaches and AP All-SEC teams.
All were enhanced by Allen’s abilities whether as a passer, decision-maker or nimbleness in extending plays to avoid sacks.
Other than freshman linebacker Dre Greenlaw getting named to the Coaches All-SEC Freshman team, Arkansas’ defense was part of too many high-scoring affairs to net much individual recognition.
However there is no doubt for whom they would vote for anybody’s iron man award.
Linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves can’t recall a significant defensive snap that junior middle linebacker and team leading tackler (101) Brooks Ellis didn’t take.
“I take my hat off to him because he never said, ‘Boo,” Hargreaves said.  “I never took him off the field. A couple of times when he did come off the field his tongue was hanging on the ground and I told him, ‘Get some water, man because I have got to put you back in.’  He’s kind of been our iron man and I think he has embraced that role a little bit and really done everything we have asked him to do.”  
Ellis said he took advantage of the rest between the Razorbacks ending their regular season defeating Missouri, 28-3 on Nov. 27 in Fayetteville and the sporadic Liberty Bowl practices that will come in greater succession with fall semester final exams finishing Thursday and Friday.




Waldron Splits at Mena
As the Mena Bearcats and Ladycats went back to work at the Union Bank Center, both teams had to come home to face fellow 7-4A conference member and Highway 71 rival, Waldron. The Ladycats pulled of a solid 43 to 32 victory while the Bearcats fell in a heartbreaker, 65 to 60. The Ladycats were in a tight contested game. At the end of the first, Mena led 11 to 10. The Ladycats had solid defense and great rebounding. Team play led the way for the Ladycats. Solid contributions were made by Brooke Hines and Keely Jones. Hines finished the night with 20 points while Mackenzie Martin had 8. For Waldron, Kalie Graves has 13 points and Emily Haga had 6. But Mena’s pressure defense forced turnovers that lead to easy scoring trips down the court. Mena carried a 23 to 17 lead into halftime. But then, Mena cranked up the pressure and started the 3rd quarter on a 12 to 3 run giving the Ladycats an insurmountable lead. Mena finished the 3rd with a 13 point lead. Mena’s defense in the fourth quarter finished of the Lady Dogs. Keely Jones missed a free throw with 44.7 to play but the Lady Cats clamped down and shut the door on Waldron, winning by a final of 43-32.
The Mena Bearcats had a tough time with the Waldron’s boys’ team. “The kids are really playing hard. First couple of games we were trying to get our team chemistry lined out. We lost Zach
Terwilliger and he is the glue to our program. He is a major scorer and defender and rebounder. We had to readjust to losing him and first 3 games we were trying to get that chemistry. The last four games, we are improving each game. We are getting closer and closer to a win. The kids are playing better and more confident each night. I’m hoping it is going to happen here shortly,” replied Mena boys coach Aaron O’ Brien.
Early scores got the game going. Trey Slater hit a 3 pointer for Waldron, but Kaleb Posey got a steal and a lay-up. Both defenses hit the boards early and often. Ty Allen slashed to the hoop and picked up a free throw to give Waldron an early 22 to 12 lead with 3:35 to go until halftime. But the Bearcats came right back. Free throws by Posey and Cross Hughes cut Waldron’s lead to 27 to 21 going into halftime. Mena started the second half with great free throw shooting and good work in the lane.




Tigers worn down by the Razorbacks, 28-3
Even more relentless than the 40-degree rain never ceasing, the Arkansas Razorbacks wore down and wore out the Missouri Tigers, 28-3 in Friday’s SEC season finale at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
An Arkansas defense flogged for 51 in last week’s 51-50 SEC loss against Mississippi State, held Mizzou to a field goal while offensively with 40:15 possession time and running back Alex Collins’ 30 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns and Kody Walker’s 14 totes for 77 yards and a touchdown, the Razorbacks grounded the Tigers’ rock hard defense into pebbles.
Arkansas led, 21-3 on Walker’s three touchdowns  at half.
Walker scored his in the third quarter.
 The victory concludes the regular season for Coach Bret Bielema’s bowl bound Razorbacks with 7-5 and 5-3 overall and SEC records while 15-year Mizzou Coach Gary Pinkel retiring for health reasons, concludes his final year 5-7 and 1-7.
 “With Coach Pinkel, I’m very, very appreciative of everything he’s brought to the game, and I want to wish him nothing but best as he moves forward,” Bielema said. “We’re with him in 100 percent support for us here at Arkansas.”
Pinkel in turn extended “congratulations to Arkansas.”
 Bielema knew Arkansas’ defense potentially could struggle more from the hangover of the 51-50 loss to Mississippi State than against Missouri’s struggling offense long without suspended for the season veteran quarterback Maty Mauk.
“I just didn’t want Mississippi State to get us twice,” Bielema said. “I thought our guys turned the page for last Saturday’s gut-wrencher as well as you could.”
So holding Mizzou to a field goal was … “Huge, huge, huge!,” Bielema said. I think we needed that. Robb (Smith, the defensive coordinator) needed that. Our defensive coaches, our players, probably our fans and everybody else needed to see that. Really excited, just the preparation to bounce back.”
 “Huge” also was the adjective supplied by junior linebacker Brooks Ellis for holding Mizzou to a field goal.
 “We were stopping them the whole game,” Ellis said. “They would make a couple of plays and get down there and then we would put out the fire.”
 For safety Rohan Gaines, one of 17 seniors suiting up for the last time at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, “It meant a lot.”
 “As seniors we went out right,” Gaines said. “After last week’s performance we had to bounce back from that one.”
Against Mississippi State, the Razorbacks rushed for only 73 yards on 29 carries while senior quarterback Brandon Allen passed for 408 yards and a Razorbacks record seven touchdowns.




Razorbacks now bowl-eligible
Contributor
The same Arkansas Razorbacks defense that required last week’s remedial course of Tackling 101 became the only SEC defense holding leading Heisman Trophy candidate running backs Derrick Henry and Leonard Fournette both  to under 100 yards rushing.
Alabama’s Henry, now likely the leading Heisman candidate, rushed 95 yards on 27 carries in Arkansas’ 27-14 loss back  on Oct. 10 at Tuscaloosa, Ala. 
Last Saturday night is now 6-4 bowl eligible  Arkansas’ 31-14 upset over the then nationally No. 9 and previous week’s No. 2 ranked  LSU Tigers at LSU’s Death Valley in Baton Rouge, La., Fournette netted 91 hard-earned yards on 19 carries.
Meanwhile an Arkansas pass-rush with just eight sacks for its previous nine games five times sacked LSU quarterback Brandon Harris.  Lost-yardage tackles reduced LSU’s team rushing net to 54 yards. 
Quite a night for defensive coordinator Robb Smith and the  defensive staff reamed midweek by Head Coach Bret Bielema. 
The Razorbacks roll on a 4-game winning streak but this time with defense starring  in Baton Rouge after the offense rescued 54-46 and 53-52 SEC  overtime victories over Auburn in Fayetteville and Ole Miss in Oxford sandwiching the defense  allowing 519 yards  to a lower division Tennessee-Martin  in a 63-28 victory at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
“I laid into them hard Wednesday morning,” Bielema said of his words for Smith and assistants Clay Jennings, Vernon Hargreaves and Rory Segrest. “I don’t like being like that, but I’m glad I did it now. Anytime Robb and that staff has time to stew on things, I knew they would respond very well.”
What Bielema told the defensive coaches likely didn’t vary much from what the defensive coaches had told the defensive players.
  It was fundamentally  do better time for this defense and it did.
“Our emphasis in practice was being able to tackle,” Arkansas freshman linebacker Dre Greenlaw,  a game-leading 12 tackles with one causing an Arkansas recovered fumble, said.  “I think for the most part we were able to do a good job of that.” 
The defensive emphasis started with tackling Fournette.
“The biggest thing was we had to hit him in the backfield,” Arkansas senior defensive tackle DeMarcus Hodge of Monroe, La. said.  “Make sure he didn’t get up to that second level and make him go east and west.  I think we did a good job of that tonight.” 
The Razorbacks knew foiling Fournette was the start but couldn’t be the finish. More than great running backs, scrambling quarterbacks had bedeviled the Hogs.




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