FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays its SEC home opener on Sunday when the Razorbacks face Alabama at 3:05 p.m. in a game televised by Raycom Sports, formerly Lincoln Financial Sports. Arkansas is 12-3 overall and 1-0 in the SEC following Thursday’s win at Auburn. Alabama is 11-5 and 0-1. Following is a partial transcript of head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference previewing the game.
“We were fortunate to get out of Auburn with a win. We had talked about how difficult it would be to win on the road, and how much emotion and inspired Auburn would be. It was definitely a conference game atmosphere. It was very, very physical. Obviously the game could have gone either way. I anticipated they would take a lot of threes and we had a difficult time guarding them. I feel very fortunate.”
“Playing at home is positive, but that certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. Alabama will be in a bad mood. They dropped a home game, and will be very hungry and focused. They will have the energy and emotion and have the frame of mind to probably play their best game of the year. We will get their best shot.
“It’s difficult to match up with Richard Hendrix. He’s physical and he’s a team guy. I like him. He’s tough and arguably the best front court player in the league. For one of our guys to match up with him may be unrealistic. Our team will have to do that. Alonzo Gee is a big-time catch-and-shoot three-point guy. He’s a special player, too. When he leaves the floor, he’s a different guy.
“We need to come out with the same focus we’ve had. We’ve got to have toughness – the ability to do the right things over again. We have to do it 15 more times.”
“He has practiced well the last two-and-a-half weeks. He doesn’t always get that into the games, but he got off to a good start (at Auburn). He had a finish around the basket and made a jump shot. I think he’s going to play much better the rest of the way. He’s made some big plays.
“You have to look at our center and power forward positions as a two-headed monster. We combine Steven and Darian together (at center) and Charles and Michael Washington together (at forward).”
“He has practiced very well the last 10 days. He’s played very well in terms of scoring the ball the last two games (before Auburn), but he still had nine turnovers. He was awesome at Auburn with seven assists and one turnover. He made some tough shots. When he gets to the 14 or 15-foot range, it’s different because he can jump and get that off.”
“We’re not as bad as we were for a period of time and I don’t think we’re as good as we are at this time (18-34 over the last two games). We’ve done a good job of moving the ball.”
Two straight road wins (counting the win over Baylor in Dallas):
“It means I get to keep screaming and yelling, and harping on what I feel is important. The guys will find out we’re not embracing anything. We have to keep working hard.”