FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas returns to action following its Christmas break when the Razorbacks play host to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. in a game televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. Following is a partial transcript of head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference to preview the game.
Appalachian State recap:
“On a certain night, no matter what the papers, stats, numbers or rosters might say, it’s still a game. There are no easy games. Give those guys credit.
“We do have six seniors and veterans. We need to respond to adversity. We need to bounce back and play better. We need to embrace each other on a daily basis and do our jobs. We have a good chance to compete in any game we play. The ability to focus on the task at hand is important. I would like to have 10 wins right now, but that game didn’t count as two losses and it wasn’t going to count as two wins.”
Playing in Alltel Arena:
“It was a beautiful, wonderful, incredible environment. There was incredible passion that was big, big time. It was awesome.”
“We played them (at South Alabama) before they came into the league in a home-and-home and last year. They have a lot of guys back. Orlando (Early) was in the league when I was an assistant. He’s done a good job. They are a three-point shooting, guard oriented team. Perimeter defense and defending the three-point line will be as important as any game the rest of the year. They shoot the three from four spots, which is what makes them unique.”
Improvements to make:
“We need to get better at the ordinary things, such as running the fast break every time, running our lanes, getting rebounds and chinning the ball, guarding a guy for three dribbles, taking care of the ball, having honor and respect for who is in our locker room and everyone in the other locker room, setting the angle correctly for a pick and role and having an attitude that is phenomenal and encouraging all the way through. At this level, we should be able to do all those things. Making five threes in a half or in the post scoring against a one-on-one and in a double-team, that’s not what I’m talking about.
“We need to find value in it. Based on our talent level, if we do those things, we should have a great, great chance to win.
“Toughness is being able to do the ordinary things over and over and over, and not find boredom in that. That’s what makes you special.”
“There is confidence with everything, and what you’re focusing on can lead to confidence. We need to make sure their mind is focused on the correct things and not let anything take that away. You have to get a good, aggressive rep in as opposed to having no idea what is going on and talking to somebody.
“We work on free throws. Whether it’s one or five, for anything you miss, you get a negative. There’s a chart we work up. It encompasses more than free throws and it includes some positives. Sometimes they have to make 10 in a row before they can leave.
“If I play hard and get an aggressive rep, I need to have the confidence it will go in a fair share of the time.”
Defense and rebounding the keys:
“If you look at our three losses, we turned the ball over 32 times in one. Turnovers are the root of all evil. If you do that, you’re not giving yourself a chance. In the other two games, you can pinpoint defense. We just weren’t good enough for 40 minutes to win the game. We have a chance to improve in the half court game. We will work together. What could help is if we consistently defend at a high level, get stops and rebounds, and get fast breaks at a high level. It would help if we play defense over a period of time and hold teams to 40 percent or less, to 30 percent or less, and not foul. That would hold their scoring down and put us on the break more often. The biggest impact for us would be defense and rebounding.”