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Stan Heath Press Conference – Alabama

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Stan Heath Press Conference – Alabama
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas opens Southeastern Conference play this week with Wednesday’s 7 p.m. tilt at Alabama. The Crimson Tide (10-1) was ranked No. 1 in the nation prior to last week’s 51-49 loss at Utah. Alabama beat No. 19 Xavier, 65-58, on Saturday. The Razorbacks (5-6) dropped a 72-67 decision to Memphis in their last game on Thursday. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.

“We’re disappointed being 5-6. We do not look at that as an acceptable record. As we look back, a couple of those games we would like to have back. We’ve been close to getting wins against some top 25 teams. That lets me know we’re getting close. We need to learn how to close games out. We have to get a defensive stop and hit big free throws when we need them. We’ll get there.
“I’m more concerned about our mental approach than anything else. I want our guys to say ‘They have five guys on the court and we have five. Let’s play.'”

Alabama:

“Alabama is one of the elite teams in our conference. The have all the ingredients, you would think, to make up a championship team. They have talent, experience and good team chemistry. We need to have a road warrior mentality. Hopefully the Oklahoma State experience (a 71-45 loss on Dec.30) will help us maintain our poise and not get rattled.

“Alabama is tough, and they are very good at home. That’s a place where opponents have gone in and struggled, and they do a good job of protecting their turf. For any team, when you go on the road, you have to believe you can win and you have to do the things that give you the best chance of winning in a hostile environment.

“At Oklahoma State, we layed an egg. It’s done, it’s over, that game is gone. Just because that happened, it doesn’t mean everything we’re doing is wrong and we need to start changing things.

“For this game, we have to control the tempo and take away their inside game. We can’t let them pound us inside and we have to neutralize Mo Williams. We have to make their other players, who are good players, beat us.”

Last year’s game between Kent State and Alabama in the NCAA Tournament (KSU won, 71-58):

“We got on them early. We had experience and they were younger. We got off to a good start and carried it through the game. The experience was the difference.”

Memphis game:

“I thought we did a great job on defense in the first half. Against Memphis, I think our team started doing some of the things that will help us win some games. If we can put it all together, we’ll get some wins. Our team does not have a large margin for error.”

The SEC:

“The conference is awfully good. It’s probably the top conference in the country, top to bottom. Most teams in the league have two losses or less. That shows our strength and depth. I hope a lot of the players around the conference are seniors or are leaving for the NBA.

“We would love to have a better record, but with how things started with our schedule and us growing as a team, this is just how it’s worked out.”

Dionisio Gomez (has a bruised left thigh):

“He’s day-to-day. He’s made major progress since Sunday. Hopefully by Tuesday he will be fully recovered and ready to go.”

Lineup:

“If Dionisio is healthy and can play, our lineup will probably be the same.
“I’m pleased with Carl Baker, both in the last game and in the last few practices. Dionisio Gomez still has to be a key guy for us. Eric Ferguson, I think, had his best game (against Memphis) with his shot selection and defending a bigger guard.
“I would like to have seven or eight guys that will go. The key for us is matching up.”



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