FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Northwestern State on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in a game televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. The Razorbacks are 8-2 following Saturday’s 83-72 loss at Oklahoma. Following is a partial transcript of head coach John Pelphrey’s press conference to preview Wednesday’s game.
“Give those guys credit. They played very well. They had some kids step up. (Omar) Leary made some big baskets. It was an important day in front of a national (ESPN2) audience and they made more plays. We weren’t able to get anything going. We didn’t play great. We rebounded the ball and we took care of it. If you had told me we would turn it over 10 times, I would have thought we would be in great position. They played better than us in the last 3:40. We need to find a way to make plays at the end of the game.
“There were some occasions where we could have gotten a loose ball and they got a second shot. (Tony) Crocker hit three big ones (threes) in the second half. That’s what we need to have happen for us. We made some of those plays against Missouri.”
Team reaction to loss:
“They came out in a good frame of mind on Sunday and worked hard. I don’t think anybody enjoys losing. We have to get to the point where we play better. I think it’s hard on them.”
“This is an important time. We need to focus and get better.
“As a program over the last few years, they’ve been very good. They beat Oklahoma State at OSU and they beat Iowa in the NCAA Tournament. They’ve competed for conference championships.
“Like Coach (Rob) Evans told the guys, there are no easy games on our schedule and this one is no different.”
“He has a knack for being around the ball (rebounding), and he’s in there. You’ll get zero percent of the balls you don’t go after. He’s been offensive rebounding at an alarming rate.
“I haven’t thought about that much. We’ll more than likely go back with Charles (Thomas). Both are going to play and I like Mike coming off the bench with the offense and energy he gives us.”
Offensive spark coming off the bench:
“You don’t want one or two guys to be expected to carry the load offensively. That’s too one dimensional and makes it easier for teams to figure out who to stop. We need eight to 10 guys. For the most part, those guys decide who starts and plays. I take in all the information from practice and they get what they deserve.”
Patrick Beverley’s shooting:
“He was awesome Sunday in practice. He made about five threes, and I count practice. That young man brings it every day. Shooting is fickle. I can’t dispute the numbers. They are what they are. I hope we can keep him where he’s constantly attacking.
“The majority of the time, I want to keep them on edge and focused, not only Patrick, but the rest of the guys, too, on being hard-nosed on defense and doing whatever they can do to help our team be the best it can be. We need to be zeroed-in focused.
“Pat will be fine. I’m not worried about how many shots he has or hasn’t made because he’s putting in the work in practice.”
Steven Hill’s numbers:
“Steve, Sonny (Weems) and Charles (Thomas) have all been plagued by a little foul trouble. Steve needs to rebound more and get some tip-ins, but those three guys, and more so the other two, need to stop taking themselves out of the action with silly fouls.
“They need to focus better so they can play more. That would allow them to be more effective.”
Ten turnovers at Oklahoma:
“We had better focus from that side of it, but Oklahoma didn’t stretch the floor with any heat in the backcourt. That’s positive, if that continues and we get that many shot attempts (70). We’re not always going to shoot that way (41 percent).”
“I think we’re better at shooting the ball than what we’re showing. I’m not looking at the numbers, but I don’t get too caught up in that.”