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Stan Heath Press Conference – Hartford

Stan Heath Press Conference – Hartford
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Hartford on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. in a game televised by ARSN. The Razorbacks are 9-1 and off to their best start since the 1995 club started 11-1. UA knocked off Lipscomb on Monday, 83-54. Hartford is 2-4. Following is a partial transcript from head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.

“Hartford is having some ups and downs, but I think they are better than their record indicates. I know Larry (head coach Larry Harrison) from his days at Cincinnati and I know he wants to play that style. They want to pick you up full-court and defend you, but they haven’t been able to do that yet. They like to score off their defense if they can force turnovers.

“The guys are having fun and the coaches are enjoying what we’re doing, but not for a minute can we relax. We have to use this game as a chance to play good basketball. We don’t want to get caught up in their record or their height.

“We’re getting close to Christmas and it’s important for us to have a good Christmas. For that to happen, we want to win. We hope our fans will come out and celebrate with us. I know we’ll try to do our part.”

Time off for the players:

“I don’t think the veterans are looking past this game. I know they are looking forward to some time off. The main thing is that Christmas is on the 25th, not the 23rd. We have a game to play and need to get ready for conference. I can sense a couple of our freshmen are dragging a little. It’s more mental than physical. Today we will cut back a little. We always go at a certain pace, but we will not be out there very long.”

UA’s field goal defense:

“I want that to be our identity and to know how important it is to play defense as a priority. Having the No. 1 defensive field goal percentage in the league is something to be proud of. I want us to hang our hats on our defense.”

UA’s style:

“I always strive to get better. I envisioned our team being versatile, able to defend and having interchangeable parts. I want us to play with and against different styles. We’re closing in on that, but we aren’t there yet.”

Darian Townes:

“If he continues playing like he has the last few games, he will start getting double-teamed and will have to make some decisions. I’m pleased with the aggressive approach he’s taken. We need that. Charles Thomas has given us a punch inside and now Darian is adding to that. He’s demonstrated he has the ability to score inside. Now, it’s confidence more than anything. He has a good package. He doesn’t get in a hurry and he has a nice touch on his shot.”

Handling the ball:

“For three games in a row our assist-to-turnover ratio has been positive. Some people might say that’s because of our opponents, but sometimes the opponent causes you to have more turnovers because your focus isn’t there. Our ball-handling is much better. We look like we’re running what we do in practice. We have strong perimeter play and they know what to do and why we’re doing it.”

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