Sully Says: Hogs hit shots...some crazy shots
On Monday, Mike Anderson was asked what it would take for his Hogs to avoid another slow start at South Carolina. His response: "Hit some shots."
Wednesday night, the Hogs fell behind early again, but they hit lots of shots.
The numbers they put up against a Gamecocks team that is ranked 9th in the country in field goal defense are crazy. They shot 53.6% from the floor, hit 7-14 shots from three-point range and were 16-18 from the free throw line.
It helps to have a couple of players, Jaylen Barford and Dusty Hannahs, who can score points in bunches.
Let's start with Barford. When this former JUCO player of the year gets in a zone, watch out. Wednesday night, Barford was unstoppable in the first half. He scored 17 points in the first 20 minutes of action. It's the third time this season Barford has exploded offensively in the first half.
At Tennessee, the Hogs were down 39-26 late in the first half. Barford scored eight points in a span of two minutes, and Arkansas went into the break trailing by only two. Barford also put on a first half show at Kentucky. He had 13 first half points in the first 20 minutes, and the Hogs went into the second half down only two.
Former great Pat Bradley was "the shootah." Dusty Hannahs is "the scorah."
Last night, when the Hogs were trying to hold off South Carolina, Dusty scored nine points in a span of two minutes and eight seconds. The Dusty run included an off-balance three, and a drive where he put the ball behind his back, dipped under a Gamecock, and dropped a jumper. Todd Day would have been proud of that effort.
My favorite Dusty takeover of the season came at Vandy. The Hogs were down 60-52 with 4:38 to go when Dusty hit the "go" button. He scored 14 points down the stretch; all layups and free throws, no three-pointers. Opponents are slowly learning that he's no longer a three-point specialist; he's "the scorah."
There are no words to describe Manny Watkins' running jumper with the shot clock running down and the Hogs up by only one with less than 40 seconds to play. It was a "Flailing Manny." I don't think Manny could even recreate that effort.
Mike Anderson called it. One of the keys to winning on the road: just him some shots. All kinds of shots.