FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas (13-7, 1-6) goes on the road for a Southeastern Conference matchup at Mississippi State (15-7, 5-2) on Saturday. The game is at 2 p.m. and is being televised by Raycom Sports, which is carried by KHOG/KHBS in Northwest Arkansas, KATV in Little Rock and KAIT in Jonesboro. The Razorbacks are coming off Wednesday’s 74-72 home loss to Tennessee while MSU is coming off Tuesday’s 66-57 win over Kentucky. Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Following is a partial transcript of the press conference.
“Mississippi State is playing well right now. They are having a very good conference season and they are in the thick of the race in the west. They had a good win at Kentucky. The first time we played, they were fast in transition, they have a great shot blocker inside and they have a great home court. This is a big game. I think we will be excited to go on the road and try to get an SEC road win.
“They are very, very aggressive from the three-point line. They have taken a high number of them. When they are going in, it creates more space for driving and posting up.
“Dee Bost is good. He’s taking advantage of his opportunity. He’s fast and they play in a way that takes advantage of his ability.”
“He’s doing better. I’m very proud of him and the progress he’s making. We’ll keep taking it day-by-day. If he does that and does the right things in fundamentals and the way he goes about handling himself, he has a chance to take over.
“He’s practicing very hard after the knee injury and suspension set him back. He’s more consistent with school and in the training room, and it’s resulted in good play.
“Jason is capable of giving us a lot. He has pretty good height. He chases balls. He’s a tremendous talent in terms of ability to score. He has a quick second jump and has a nose for the ball. He’s long and has the ability to rebound. He’s hung in there.”
Playing freshmen against veterans:
“Experience can be a deadly weapon. Against Tennessee, when we got inside three minutes, we were in a zone and switched to man-to-man. They quickly got themselves organized. Those were experienced players doing that.”
“We need to keep a high energy and high effort level whether the ball is going in the basket or not.”
“We’re capable of making some shots. We will continue to work hard to be prepared.”
“At some point in time, we will have 10 guys. We’re just not there yet. During games, we try to get a guy a blow around a timeout and take guys out so they don’t get a cheap foul.
“Andre Clark and Brandon Moore have some physical attributes that can contribute, but they have to give us confidence that they can go in there and we can still operate. Their issues right now are more organizational than talent.”
“We are missing him, but there is no update on his situation. Nobody is a bigger fan of Marcus Monk than I am, but we’re going to roll with what we have. We are respectful of the process.”
“I believe in this group of guys. We constantly get told what we lost and where we were picked, but if we can overachieve, we’re right there. That is my belief. That doesn’t make it right. Our margin of error is very, very small. If we had made one more shot (against Tennessee), we could be talking about something else right now.”