Sophomore BJ Young scored 16 points and junior Rickey Scott added 14 as the Arkansas men’s basketball team picked up its second win during its tour of Italy, 95-84, over Atletas of Lithuania on Monday night in a small gym outside Florence, Italy.
Arkansas’ second opponent in two days was no pushover as Atletas was already 2-2 in their own Italian tour having defeated Georgia and Purdue, while losing to Virginia Commonwealth and Tennessee. The Lithuanian team proved a much tougher challenge early for the Razorbacks.
“It was much better competition and I think that it was great for our guys to go out and play a team that had us down in the first quarter,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought that our depth was very effective in this game. We had some guys continue come off the bench and play well, Michael Qualls, I thought Coty Clarke brought some energy and Rashad Madden, what he did doesn’t show up in the stats sheet, but he did a lot of good things. I thought that our defense in the second quarter really turned it around."
Young was efficient in his scoring, going 7-of-8 from the field while hitting both his three-point attempts in just 16 minutes of action. His athleticism also allowed him to make a team high five steals which led to easy transition baskets for the St. Louis, Mo., native.
A close game during the opening half, the Razorbacks found themselves behind for the first time on their tour in the first quarter of action. Similar to its first game, Arkansas’ pressure defense was able to force turnovers by its opponent which turned into points for the Razorbacks. Anderson’s “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” turned its head on Atletas midway through the first quarter and once Arkansas’ intensity picked up, Atletas had no counter and was forced into 22 turnovers.
Joining Young and Scott in double figures were freshman Michael Qualls and junior Coty Clarke. Qualls threw down another three dunks in the game to bring his Italian tour total to a team high seven while Clarke posted his second double-digit scoring game while also leading the Hogs in rebounds for the second time. Clarke grabbed eight rebounds to go along with four assists, and a steal. The junior college transfer is averaging 7.5 rebounds per game to go along with 15.0 points.
For the second straight game, Arkansas dominated the third quarter. After holding Amici del Campetto to 10 points after the break last night, Arkansas outscored Atletas by eight in the third on Monday to take a 16-point lead into the final 10 minutes of action. Atletas did outscore Arkansas by five in the final quarter, but long after the game was decided and the Razorbacks had called off the full-court pressure.
There is little rest for the traveling Razorbacks as they play Atletas again on Tuesday evening in a new location. Game time for Tuesday is set for 12:30 p.m. central.
— Arkansas Media Relations