Marshawn Powell carries Arkansas past OU
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 5:07 AM
Related Story: OU Basketball Notebook: How it ended
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Oklahoma Sooners had a feeling Marshawn Powell would play well against them. They were just hoping they were wrong.
It turns out they were. Powell didn't play well Tuesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
He played phenomenally.
He was the difference in Arkansas' 81-78 victory, right to the very end.
OU's Romero Osby missed a go-ahead 18-footer with 2.4 seconds left. Powell rebounded out of a scrum under the basket. He made two free throws, after being hacked by Cameron Clark, giving him a career-high 33 points for the night.
And then Powell deflected OU's desperate half-court pass, making it impossible for Tyler Neal to do anything but throw up an impossible off-balance heave.
The horn sounded and the 4-3 Razorbacks had snapped a three-game losing streak. The Sooners' three-game winning streak was over. They headed home 6-2, and fully aware they'd been hit by a bus of a player.
"Me and Marshawn have played on the same AAU team since 10- or 11-under," said Steven Pledger, whose 3-pointer provided the Sooners a 78-77 lead with 24 seconds left, their first since 6-4. "I knew how he was gonna play."
"I played against him when I was at Mississippi State. I knew he was a good player. I told the guys he was a good player who had a lot of moves," said Romero Osby, whose 22 points allowed OU to hang around. "When he's knocking down threes, he's a tough guard."
Powell went 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. He was 11-of-17 overall, and 7-of-8 from the line. He totaled six rebounds and five assists.
"Such a good player in a lot of different ways," OU coach Lon Kruger said. "He was fantastic."
He had to be. B.J. Young, the Arkansas guard who came in averaging 21.5 points, was held to 10. Young followed Pledger's late 3 with a driving make in traffic with 14.7 seconds left, putting Arkansas ahead 79-78.
But this was his night to defer. To his credit, he did and finished with eight assists.
"Other guys were hot tonight," Young said. "I had to get the ball in their hands."
Meaning Powell's hands.
He hit an open 3 to give the Hogs with first lead three minutes into the game. They kept it all the way up to Pledger's bomb in the final minute.
Powell scored in transition. He scored off spins. He scored off spot-ups and putbacks.
He scored against Osby, Amath M'Baye, Tyler Neal and Andrew Fitzgerald. It didn't matter how OU guarded him. He was unstoppable.
"I was just shooting the ball, man," said Powell, whose previous career-high of 29 had come three years ago. "I felt so comfortable. I decided before we played to leave everything that was hindering me the last couple games in the locker room and play. Just play my game."
Powell still wears a brace on his right knee from the torn ACL that wrecked his 2011-12 season. He says he's still not 100 percent healthy.
"Ninety-five," he said Tuesday night.
"Ninety-five was pretty good tonight," Kruger noted.
"Powell had a career night," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said, "not only on offense, but defensively. His presence was very important for us."
It was the difference between winning and losing.
"He's a friend," Pledger said of Powell. "It's good to see he did it. I just wish it was against somebody else."
OU: vs. Texas A&M at All-College Classic, OKC
1 p.m. Dec. 15
Radio: KTBZ am1430
Arkansas: at No. 3 Michigan
11 a.m. Saturday
Radio: KCFO am970
Original Print Headline: Powell carries Arkansas past OU
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Arkansas' Marshawn Powell rises over OU's Amath M'Baye for a shot Tuesday night in Fayetteville, Ark. Powell scored a game-high 33 points. GARETH PATTERSON / Associated Press