Arkansas sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson might have been at his best in Tuesday night’s Red-White intrasquad scrimmage.
Hunter Mickelson went 8 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line Tuesday night en route to scoring 20 points.
Mickelson flirted with a triple-double, getting 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots to help the Red team beat the White 85-75 at Bud Walton Arena.
“I thought Hunter was certainly a bright spot,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “That’s what Hunter’s been doing probably in the last week of practice, averaging almost double-figure rebounding ...
“That’s the most active I’ve seen him in terms of blocking shots. He looked like that guy last year where anything came down that lane, he was cont4esting it, and I thought it helped the Red team get out and get out to a nice lead.”
Mickelson wasn’t the only big man with a big game.
Junior forward Marshawn Powell, who played in two games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury, scored 16 of his team-high 22 in the second half for the White.
Anderson said Powell is “slowly getting the feel for playing and playing at that pace of game.”
“I thought he was a little rusty early on, but I thought he got into a little bit more of attack mode, attacking the basket, got to the free-throw line. So there was some bright spots.”
Sophomore guard B.J. Young was definitely a bright spot. He scored a game-high 28 points for the Red and also had a game-high four assists. And true freshman guard Anthlon Bell scored 19, hitting 5 of 9 from three-point range.
“We put this team together, I think you’re going to see some nice pieces,” Anderson said :You saw some of the freshmen, one in particular I thought he really had a nice little rhythm, and that is Anthlon Bell. You can see he’s a guy that can knock down shots. Our guys found him, whether it be in the open court or when the ball went inside, he knocked some shots down.
“B.J.’s a much better player. I think he’s improved from last year. We’ll see as the season continues to unfold. The thing I liked about him. We know he can get to the basket and score, and he can knock some shots, pull up, but I thought he was distributing the basketball.”
Other than Bell, Arkansas’ true freshmen had tough nights. Forward Jacorey Williams was 0 of 7 from the floor and had three turnovers. Point guard DeQuavious Wagner was 0 of 8 from the floor, and forward Michael Qualls was 1 for 5, but did pull down six boards.
Anderson called it the “classic case of lights, camera, action for some of these guys – especially the freshmen.”
“It’s one thing in practice. Even as we went on and played the games over in Italy and practiced. But then when you start getting officials and you start getting fast, you can see. Some of their eyes were a little glassy. I thought they were a little tight. Once we got into a flow I think you saw some of the guys brought some of their practice to the game.”
Junior forward Alandise Harris – who must sit out the season after transferring from Houston – had a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Red, and sophomore guard Rashad Madden had six points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Junior guard Rickey Scott added 13 points and junior forward Coty Clarke had eight points and 11 rebounds for the White. A couple of walk-ons provided a nice spark, too, with junior guard Kikko Haydar scoring 11 points, hitting 3 of 6 three-pointers, and Davion Spivey scoring 10.
Mickelson and Young were on the losing team in last year’s Red-White game, but there was no talk of payback or redemption in the locker room. This game was about putting on a show for the fans, while also giving Anderson more info heading into Friday night’s exhibition opener against Southwest Baptist.
“We were just kind of going out there and trying to have fun, play hard for the fans so they’d have a good time,” Mickelson said. “It was a good experience. Everybody worked hard.”
“It was great tonight,” Scott said of Mickelson’s play. “His impact on defense is going to help us along the way in the long run in SEC play. I hope he keeps on doing that, helping me. That’s just going to help me when I drive to the lane, so I know if somebody like Hunter’s coming I need to adjust my shot. So he’s helping me as well.”