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Hoop Hogs return home on Saturday

Arkansas will return to the hardcourt on Saturday night when Alcorn State comes to Bud Walton Arena for a non-conference game.

Mike Anderson is anxious to see his team get back on the court on Saturday night.

Arkansas last played this past Saturday when they lost to No. 3 Michigan, 80-67, on the road. Arkansas (4-4) is a big favorite against Alcorn State (2-6) and now moves into the part of its schedule where it should be able to get some momentum before opening SEC play on Jan. 9 at Texas A&M. Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson is ready to get his team back on the court after a week off for final exams.

“It will be nice for our guys to get back on the hardwood,” Anderson said. “We had to kind of revamp our practice schedule (due to finals). [Today] is the last day for finals and we're ready to play somebody.”

Junior Fred Gulley, who is a transfer from Oklahoma State, is slated to make his debut on Saturday night.

“Hopefully with all the grades posted and if that takes place he will the opportunity to play on Saturday,” Anderson said. “Fred will give us another guy, a guard, depth wise. I think it will be good for our experienced guy.

“He has played at this level before and has a great defensive mindset. I think he can get people into the offenses we want to do. He will be a good plus for us.”

Anderson is unsure how much of an impact Gulley will make at this point, but feels like he will get to look at him during this portion of the schedule.

“We've got a stretch of games where we can get him out there,” Anderson said. “See what he can do. Starting off with the young guys at the first of the season putting them at there to see what they can do.”

Against Michigan, Anderson was pleased with the defense, but not pleased with the rebounding.

“I thought in the second half they kind of pushed us around a little bit,” Anderson said. “I don't know if people realize this but Michigan was shooting 37 or 38 percent from the field in the second half. This is a team that shoots over 50 percent.

“Our deal as we progress as a work in progress to the point we keep people from getting those offensive rebounds. Take away eight of those offensive rebounds and I think we win that game.”

Anderson feels the team is improving. He said that Marshawn Powell, B.J. Young and Hunter Mickelson all grew up in the Michigan game. He also liked how Kikko Haydar came off the bench and gave the team a lift as did Rickey Scott.

“We've just got to keep getting better,” Anderson said. “Defensively and offensively things will start taking place. I think when you start making shots it sure lets you play with more confidence.”

Anderson feels that with the SEC portion of his team's schedule nearing it's important to make improvement on the bench players.

“I think it's going to be very important,” Anderson said. “We've got to get Anthlon Bell where he's firing and playing with a lot of confidence. Jacorey Williams, Michael Qualls and Dee Wagner we've got to get those guys ready. Coty (Clarke) has been playing. When you get those guys going you get a chance to rest those starters. That makes for stronger finishes. We will use this period here to get more guys prepared.”

Anderson also said he has had no conversations with Mekale McKay or Brandon Mitchell about joining the basketball team. McKay is a true freshman who started at wide receiver for the football team while Mitchell was a starting wide receiver. Mitchell played for Anderson last season when football concluded.

“There's more to it,” Anderson said when it comes to the football players joining his team. “I would have to talk to them. Obviously, we've got a lot of people out here right now. But again, I'm not opposed to visiting with those guys.”

Arkansas and Alcorn State will begin at 7 Saturday night.

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