You know what they say about trees falling in the forest when no one is around right? Well, if the struggling Arkansas basketball team won its second straight game on Monday night and no one (OK, somewhere around 6,000 people) was there to see it, does John Pelphrey get to keep his job?
The Hog basketball team did win its second straight game last night, which to many Razorback fans is a small victory in itself in a disappointing season thus far.
Marshawn Powell scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Rotnei Clarke added 14 of his own on just eight shot attempts as Arkansas beat Delaware State 71-53.
Delaware State tried to wear down the Hogs with a slow-paced offense, but Arkansas was patient on defense and a solid 2-3 zone forced the Hornets to take desperation shots as the shot clock was expiring on multiple occasions. The Hogs also held Delaware State’s leading scorer, Frisco Sandidge (averaging 14.4 points per game) scoreless on 0-4 shooting.
Stef Welsh played more point guard than normal Monday night. He did a good job of distributing the ball and of forcing the tempo against the Hornets by pushing the ball up the court, resulting in easy baskets in transition for the Hogs.
Marshawn Powell was too much for the undersized Hornets inside as well. Powell said that he got back to his roots against the Hornets.
“I’m just trying to play as physical as possible. I found myself earlier in the season fading away and getting away from my game and the reason they recruited me to be here,” Powell said. “I’m trying to get back to work on the block.”
Despite the win on Monday night, Arkansas got off to its worst start to a season since the early 70’s with just a 2-5 record after their first seven games. A combination of the Hogs’ slow start and six early-season suspensions have likely contributed to the fact that only an estimated 6,628 fans were in attendance Monday night.
Arkansas players have noticed.
“We’d like to see more fans in the stands, and maybe that’s our job to get them in here. Maybe give them something to get excited about,” Clarke said after the game.
The slow start, off the court problems, and low attendance numbers at Bud Walton Arena this season have some wondering if John Pelphrey will be able to survive his third season as Arkansas’ head coach.
Still, Arkansas has a lot of games left this season and as players continue to come back from injury and suspension to help with depth issues, Arkansas seems to be showing improvement.
Arkansas is now 4-5 on the year. Next up, the Razorbacks have a nine-day break before facing Alabama State on Dec. 16.