Como, Italy (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – Junior Mardracus Wade poured in 24 points in 18 minutes while junior transfer Coty Clarke scored 18 and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the University of Arkansas men's basketball team to a 129-87 win over Amici del Campetto in the first of four exhibition contests for the Razorbacks in Italy.
"Very much like a young basketball team, they were all eager to get out," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought we did some good things. I thought that the energy level was there and that the execution was there at times. One of the things that we did do, is we scored, and I even saw that when we played against ourselves. One thing that I harp on our guys about is playing defense. We have to guard people. We gave up about 50 points in the first half, but you have to limit people. In the third quarter we only gave up about eight points so that told me that our guys were a little bit more focused on defense. There's work to be done, but one thing that was obvious is that we have more depth on this team. We have more guys that can do more things."
Wade scored Arkansas' first four points on way to his game high 24. The SEC leader in three-point percentage a year ago showed improvement and versatility in his game as he was creative in getting to the basket. The Memphis, Tenn., native sank nine of 10 free throws and added one assist and two steals, while taking just three three-point shots.
Clarke's night began on the bench, but in a team high 22 minutes of action, Clarke appeared to be the best rebounder on the floor as he grabbed seven while also hitting nine of 13 shots. Clark's athleticism showed throughout the contest and Arkansas' game improved when he made his way onto the floor.
A close game for the opening minutes, the Razorbacks made a mass substitution mid-way through the first quarter and the energy that was brought to the court forced Arkansas' opponent into numerous turnovers. The Amici del Campetto turnovers allowed the Razorbacks to build a 15 point, 41-26 lead after 10 minutes and Arkansas never looked back. The Razorback lead increased to 20 points, 71-51, at the half and grew steadily to the final 40-point margin of victory, 129-89.
From the start it was evident that Anderson's "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" style of play was going to be used extensively. The Razorbacks pressed, trapped, and made their way to nearly every loose ball which led to several uncontested layups and four thunderous dunks by newcomers Jacorey Williams and Michael Qualls.
A true exhibition game from Arkansas' standpoint, only Clarke played more than 18 minutes. Wade, sophomore BJ Young and sophomore Rashad Madden each reached the 18 minute mark and only two played less than 10.
Madden made the most of his time on the court as he dished a game high eight assists. Just 1-of-4 from the floor, Madden also grabbed four rebounds, made two blocks, had one steal and turned the ball over only two times. Madden was a part of Arkansas' second wave of players that made such a huge impact in the outcome.
Along with Wade and Clarke, Young and freshman Anthlon Bell also reached double digits in scoring. Young scored his 10 on 5-of-7 shooting with three rebounds and three assists while Bell buried five shots from the field.