Trey Burke block

No. 3 Michigan outlasts Arkansas’ pressure defense to win Saturday afternoon

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Michigan’s biggest concern coming into Saturday’s game against Arkansas centered around pressure. Would they be able to neutralize the effectiveness of the Razorback’s style of play by limiting turnovers and controlling the pace?

Though they ran into some difficulties in the second half, the answer seemed to be “yes,” as a strong late push lifted the Wolverines to a win, 80-67, and kept their perfect record intact.

The Wolverines led by as many as 12 points with 6:23 remaining in the first half and led by double digits at halftime.

In the second half, though, increased Arkansas pressure led to a 12-5 run that cut the Michigan lead to just two points with 12 minutes to play. But, just before a timeout, Michigan’s Tim Hardaway, Jr., hit a fall-away three-point to extend the lead to five points.

All five Michigan starters scored in double figures, including Hardaway, Jr., with 14 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Glenn Robinson III led all Wolverines with 17 points.

Arkansas continued to stick around down the stretch, pulling to within one possession on three different occasions, but was never able to tie the game.

Arkansas cut the lead to one point, 56-55, with 8:48 to go, but a 14-4 run immediately followed, pushing the lead to double digits and putting the game away.

The Razorbacks got an unlikely contribution from junior Kikko Haydar Saturday. Prior to the game against Michigan, Haydar was averaging one point in under seven minutes per game. He starred Saturday with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 4-of-4 from three-point range.

Rickey Scott also starred coming off the bench with 10 points. Marshawn Powell led all scorers with 18 points.

Michigan has the pieces to be a Final Four team this season. They have the scorers—Robinson III, Burke, and Hardaway, Jr. They have an elite shooter who can stretch the defense in Nik Stauskas. And, as they showed Saturday, they have the paint presence to eliminate any liabilities on the inside.

Jordan Morgan finished with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Mitch McGary had another solid game with six points and five rebounds.

And, though it could be overlooked, Jon Horford had two key blocks and rebound in the middle of the second half while Morgan and McGary were on the bench that helped to stop an Arkansas run.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.