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Razorbacks Drop Opener in Mexico, 73-69

Razorbacks Drop Opener in Mexico, 73-69
CANCUN, Mexico. — Arkansas fell behind by 10 points early and fought back several times to tie the game, but Belize Teane held off the Razorbacks, 73-69, in an exhibition game Saturday morning.

Despite a poor shooting effort and players constantly slipping on a slick floor in an un-airconditioned gym, the Hogs grabbed 24 offensive rebounds, had 17 assists and just nine turnovers, and came back from several deficits.

“They beat us,” head coach Stan Heath said. “We had a bad start and they made a little run at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but we finished strong. We played hard. We rebounded well, we had more assists than turnovers and we made a lot of extra passes. We must have missed 10 layups and we shot less than 50 percent at the line, so that’s 15 to 20 points we missed out on.

“The floor was a big concern,” Heath said. “We were very cautious. That’s part of the reason we went to a little more zone than I would have liked.”

Arkansas, playing the first of four games in three days, trailed 23-13 early but took a 26-24 lead on a jumper by Jonathon Modica. Belize moved back in front, but the Hogs rallied to tie the game at 38-38 before trailing 42-38 at the half.

The Razorbacks were down 53-48 at the start of the fourth quarter and trailed 66-55 following a three by Lester Hood with three minutes left.

Billy Pharis, a senior from Van Buren who sat out last year after transferring from SMU, hit consecutive threes to get UA within 70-66 with 30 seconds remaining. An Eric Ferguson three cut the gap to 71-69 with 25 seconds left, but Greg Foster, who hit his first free throw, got the rebound of his second shot, was fouled and made another free throw for the final margin with 12 seconds remaining.

UA shot just 38 percent from the field, 27 of 71; 28 percent from three-point range, eight of 29; and 45 percent at the line, nine of 20.

“Our shots were good shots,” Heath said. “The problem is when they aren’t falling, we have to do something different.”

Pharis led the Hogs with 14 points on six of 12 shooting and had 10 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. Freshman Olu Famutimi had 11 points on five of six shooting and sophomore Jonathon Modica had 10 points, but he was just three of 13 from the field.

Freshman Ronnie Brewer had eight points, six assists and two steals while fellow freshman Vincent Hunter had seven points, five rebounds and four blocked shots.

Sophomore Eric Ferguson added six points, five assists and three steals, and sophomore Rashard Sullivan had seven points and five rebounds, but made just one of five free throws.

The games are played under international rules, meaning the teams play four 10-minute quarters, the international three-point line, the trapezoid lane and a 24-second shot clock.

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