FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Ky Madden had to sit and watch the Razorbacks play their two exhibition games and season opener without him.
The junior — who was suspended because of a violation of team rules — almost missed Arkansas’ 76-63 win against Louisiana-Lafayette as well.
Anderson said Madden was sick in the days before the game and wasn’t sure if he’d be able to join the Razorbacks on the floor. Madden didn’t practice Thursday, but was healthy enough to suit up and help Arkansas on Friday night.
“The last couple of days he’s been really sick,” Anderson said Friday night. “Had one of those bugs. I was surprised he even suited up. But once we got some food in him and got him back in the rhythm of playing in games, without a doubt that makes our team even better. Because he’s a guy that can get other guys involved.”
Madden’s stat line wasn’t gaudy, but he brought steady play to the backcourt.
Madden finished with 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists with one turnover in 17 minutes. All three of his points came from the free-throw line in the final 1:17, helping Arkansas secure the win.
“Ky’s going to have that effect,” Anderson said. “He’s a finisher.”
ULL coach Bob Marlin said he had seen enough. So with six seconds left, Marlin walked over to Arkansas’ bench, shook Anderson’s hand and walked off the court.
The bizarre moment provided an unusual end to what had been an entertaining game. It also rekindled memories of former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson’s famous stroll off the court against Texas during the 1989-90 season.
Anderson was on the Arkansas bench that day as one of Richardson’s assistants.
But even Anderson said he was surprised when Marlin shook his hand Friday.
“I actually thought the game was over with,” Anderson said. “He just said ‘good game’ and I guess he just got tired of watching it. It was kind of weird, but I thought the clock had 0.0 on it. So I don’t know what was going on.”
Richardson didn’t receive a technical foul for his departure in 1990. In fact, he returned to the floor after his team tied the game at the end of regulation.
Marlin did get a technical Friday night.
“I didn’t realize it until I was in the tunnel,” Marlin said. “They said something about it. I don’t know why I would get a technical. If they say I’m out of the box, I thought they were out of the box all game. So …”
ULL point guard Elfrid Payton presented plenty of problems for the Razorbacks on Friday night. The junior finished with a game-high 27 points, getting most of his production after driving by Arkansas defenders to the basket.
Arkansas guard Mardracus Wade said he knows why the Hogs struggled to keep Payton out of the paint early in the game.
“I was talking to a couple of guys last night on the bench and said we usually don’t see that too much in practice,” Wade said. “We’re more of a pass, cut, screen away, stuff like that. So once you play a team that doesn’t do that, a guy who can penetrate and handle the ball and get in there, it’s new to us.”
Payton had 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting with 2 turnovers in the first half. He had 11 points on 3 of 9 shooting with 7 turnovers in the second half.
“We had to make the adjustment and I think we did that second half,” Wade said.
Arkansas had to wait a week in between its season opener and Friday’s game against the Ragin’ Cajuns. It’s a much quicker turnaround for the next game with Southern Methodist (2-0) coming to Bud Walton Arena on Monday night.
The Razorbacks don’t mind the shortened preparation.
“It’s early in the season, so we still have fresh legs,” Arkansas guard Fred Gulley said. “We’re excited. It’s a lot better than going out there and playing against each other every day. So we’re excited to get some games going.”
The SMU game will be Arkansas’ last before heading off to Hawaii to play in the Maui Invitational. The Razorbacks play California in the first game of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 25, kicking off three games in three days before Thanksgiving.