Anderson: "We Have Our team Back"

By Mike Irwin | mirwin@knwa.com

Published 02/03 2014 09:36PM

Updated 02/03 2014 10:31PM

Fayetteville--"We have reinstated Michael Qualls and Alandise Harris so we have our team back."

With those words Razorback basketball coach Mike Anderson ended a one-game suspension of his number three and four scorers in the 2014 season. Anderson also said there is no question the rest of the team got a boost from the decision.

"This team is a family," Anderson told reporters. "Some of their family members didn't have a chance to practice, didn't have a chance to play. So I think it's huge, what those guys brought to the table, a level of toughness and athletic ability to our basketball team."

Anderson has not revealed the reason the two were suspended but he did explain why he lifted the suspensions.

"There were some things they had to do," Anderson explained, "some conditions that they had to meet. At this point here they satisfied that. (they) Met with me and now we're ready to move forward."

Lifting the suspensions is one thing, giving Qualls and Harris their playing time back is another. How long will that take?

"We've got a couple of days of practice (before the Alabama game)," Anderson answered. "Everybody works in practice and competes in practice and that's where you get the playing time."

Wednesday night's Arkansas-Alabama basketball game will be a battle between the SEC's 12th place teams. The loser will drop one spot from the bottom in the conference race. Neither team has a road win but Arkansas is back at home for this one.

"We've played well at home at times for the most part and we just want to build on that," Anderson affirmed. "Just try to continue to get better."

Anderson also said that like Arkansas, Alabama has been losing games down the stretch. "They're just not finishing . You got to make finishing plays. When you do make those plays you come out on the other end." 

Turning to his own team Anderson recalled issues from Saturday's LSU game. "We spotted LSU 15 points and cut it to six. Just couldn't quite get over that hump and so now maybe we've learned lessons in January that we can apply those in February."

With Qualls and Harris off suspension Arkansas will have a bigger bench Wednesday night. Anderson wants to see this team get back to it's core strategy against the Tide. "We got to try to make depth an issue. I want to see us rev it up and really get intense with our defense. That puts us in a rhythm offensively. We saw that in the LSU game. Once our guys really get engaged defensively we start attacking the gaps in the zone, pushing the ball down the floor and knocking shots down."

Anderson still believes his guys will finish the SEC race strong. With time running out he says Alabama at home is the time to turn things around.

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