FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a week off, Arkansas’ men’s basketball team is back in action on Saturday when the Razorbacks play host to Auburn at 12:05 p.m. in a game televised by Raycom Sports. Raycom games are carried on KHBS in Northwest Arkansas, KATV in Little Rock and KAIT in Jonesboro.
Arkansas is 12-4 overall and 0-3 in the SEC. Auburn is 11-7 and 1-3 following Wednesday’s 73-64 loss at Kentucky. Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.
“With the bye week, so to speak, we took off Sunday, practiced on Monday and took off Tuesday. (Wednesday) was probably our best practice in the last 10 days.
“Michael Washington and Stefan Welsh were both outstanding in practice (Wednesday) with their attitude, encouraging others, diving on the floor and effort. No one extended more effort than Stefan.
“From our side of it, hopefully we’ll get out and play as hard as we can.
“The season is not over. Everything we want to achieve is still out there for us. There is a lot of basketball to be played.”
“Auburn is a very good team. We’re all wasting our time looking at records this time of year. The coaches and players are too good. Ten points separate Auburn from its opponents for the season (in the SEC). With a few more stops or a few more baskets made, they could be as good as anybody in the league.
“Korvotney Barber chases rebounds and on the perimeter, they have several long, explosive guards. They always have four guards out there. That creates a matchup issue for us and creates challenges. They get off a large number of threes. We have to chase down balls.”
Off date on Wednesday:
“We needed the long week, more mentally than physically. We’re not making excuses, far from that, but this is the first time through this for a lot of our players.”
“It’s frustrating. You have to tip your hat to those guys (making shots). We will continue to make it an emphasis.”
“He has played well. He’s doing things in games that we have seen in practice.”
Rotnei Clarke’s three-point shooting:
“He’s not going to make excuses. All he’s done is gone back to the gym and shot more, and that’s what you want to see. I thought he looked a little hesitant at Florida. He doesn’t want to take a bad shot or disappoint. He’s trying to figure out when to take a shot or ball fake.
“I think he will be very good (Saturday). I anticipate the whole team being good.”
Power forward position:
“I think 28 minutes was a little too much (Marcus Monk at Florida), but he may have to play that much again. I think he will get in better and better shape.
“We need more out of Michael Sanchez. Andre Clark has got to get in the mix. We need everybody. You can’t stink tonight and have us do well. Everybody has to be ready to go, be on edge, have an unbelievable attitude and be committed to defense for 40 minutes.”
“I think he is better than he has been in terms of understanding the work and repetitiveness. There are flashes. He got a rebound in practice nobody else on our team can get. He made a pivot and face up shot.”
Brandon Moore (suspended indefinitely):
“I will be surprised if he does anything but work hard, take his punishment and be prepared when he gets back.”
Playing at home:
“It doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it gives you a chance to make one or two mistakes and overcome them because our fans are the best.”
“It’s very competitive. It shows you that it doesn’t matter what the records are. You better finish (games).”