This is a huge time of year for all of you college sport fans out there. College football is in full swing and college basketball just got underway. In college football, teams are trying to finish their seasons strong and make a post season bowl game.
College basketball teams are working to merely get their feet wet and see where they are to start their seasons. In Arkansas, both of these hold true, but also it appears this is the season to break records.
Arkansas basketball has been in a constant state of turmoil and the players have been dealing with adversity as their season approached. On Friday, the players set out to open their season against Alcorn State. Many coined the team "John Plus Eight" or a similar play on words to reference the Razorbacks beginning the season with eight players; close, but not exactly.
The Razorbacks actually only have six basketball scholarship players available right now, a scholarship football player, a scholarship golfer, and a few walk-ons as well. So saying eight is actually an overstatement when you look at it more closely.
The uncertainty surrounding the suspensions and how this short-handed team would respond to all the negativity, has been the focus of many in the media. How did the depleted Razorbacks team respond? By breaking records.
Rotnei Clarke simply felt he could not miss and so his teammates continued to feed him the ball. At the end of the night, Clarke had connected on 13-17 three pointers and shattered the Arkansas and SEC single game record of three point baskets made.
The Arkansas and SEC record was previously held by Al Dillard of the Razorbacks' national championship team. This is a record that many believed would never be broken.
Clarke did not stop there breaking records. He also scored 51 points on the night, which broke Martin Terry's Arkansas single game scoring record of 47 points from way back in 1973 against SMU. Along with the record books, the SEC took notice of Clarke's performance and named him the SEC Player of the Week for his performance in the season opener.
After the game, Rotnei was asked what he knew about their records and he said he was not aware until now, but what mattered more to him, was how unselfishly the team played all night. The unselfishness showed in the Razorbacks running out to a 71-26 halftime lead, which set the record for most points scored in a single half by the Razorbacks. The Razorbacks received a standing ovation to close the first half of play from the 7,713 in attendance.
The record breaking continued as the Razorbacks totaled 130 points, breaking the Bud Walton Arena record, and the record for highest point total for a season opener. When you think back on some of the great teams that have played for Arkansas and in Bud Walton Arena, that is astonishing.
In the shadow of all the record breaking, four Razorbacks scored in double digits and three newcomers started for the Hogs. Two of the newcomers, Jamal Farmer and Marshawn Powell, recorded double-doubles as the Hogs went on to win the game 130-68.
The attendance is the one thing that marred this great evening for the Razorback Nation. I know the excuses fans keep making for not showing up to the games so far this year have been weak opponents, off-the-court troubles, the economy, and the list goes on and on.
None of those have any relevance as to the Razorbacks that were on the floor putting on a show and playing their tails off. Half of the players were playing in their first game as Razorbacks and this was not the way to show them a proper welcome.
The short-handed Razorbacks proved Coach John Pelphrey right when he stated this team will play with intensity, show pride in the uniform they are wearing, and give it everything they have got. This showed in the records being broken and the final score, but also on the stat sheet.
The Razorbacks blocked 10 shots, had 14 steals, forced 24 turnovers, and held their opponent to 29 percent shooting from the floor, not bad for a team in despair.
To all the Razorback fans that missed this game and could have been there, I think you know you missed a great game and all the history that was made. Hopefully that serves as a lesson for the future. This young depleted Razorback team has heart and talent to go with it, which they showed in shattering so many records in the season opener.
Before history passes you by again, maybe you should just show up to the games and see it all for yourself and that, my friends, is the whole hog truth.
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Image courtesy of ArkansasRazorbacks.com