Sully Says : Winning Mike's way
In the biggest game of the season, Mike Anderson won his way.
Coach A treasures " true " team wins.
In SEC play this season, Dustin Thomas, CJ Jones and Adrio Bailey combined are averaging just over 11 points game. On Saturday, those three Hogs teamed up to score 31 points.
Jones, who was 0-4 shooting against Kentucky including three misses from three-point range, came out on fire against the Crimson Tide. He didn't miss a three-point shot ( 3 for 3) and finished with 13 points.
When Alabama was making a late run, it wasn't Daryl Macon or Jaylen Barford who played the closer role, it was Dustin Thomas who scored six straight points. The same Dustin Thomas who is averaging 4.7 points in league play.
Adrio Bailey's play may have been the most surprising. Adrio, who was coming off a battle with the flu bug, hadn't made a real offensive impact in a game since early January against Miss. St. On Saturday, Adrio was an " energy' guy. He finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds in only 13 minutes of action.
It says something about these players and their coach that all three stepped up in such a big way in a key conference game away from home.
Few coaches value their role players more than Mike Anderson.
How many times have you heard Coach A say " We aren't going to win with just one, two or three scorers"? On Saturday, five Hogs scored ten or more points in the Hogs 76-73 win.
We have reached the point of the season where many coaches will start to shorten their rotation, not Mike Anderson.
Coach A will continue to count on 9, 10 or 11 Hogs. It's the way he and Nolan have always operated.
In the biggest game in program history, Arkansas played 10 players and won 76-72.