FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Alabama on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. in a game televised by ESPN. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“We want to build on our momentum from Saturday. We’re facing a very talented Alabama team. Each game is more heightened. There’s more at stake. That’s a good thing because at this time of year you want to be playing for something and we are.
“Ronald Steele is hard to slow down. More than anything, he has a way of baiting you into fouls and once he gets up there, he’s automatic. He knows how to pick and choose when to turn it on and turn it off. He finds ways during a game to rest. When it’s time to take over at the end of the game, he has some gas. Playing zone (defense) also helps.
“Jermareo Davidson is tough. He and Richard Hendrix have elevated their games. Richard Hendrix is a better player now than earlier in the season. He’s a man-child down there. He’s about 270 with athleticism to go with it.
“Chuck Davis (out with an injury) was one of my favorite inside players, but in some ways, I think it was difficult for Chuck, Jermareo and Richard to all do their thing. If any of the three had been removed, the other two would step up, and that’s what has happened.
“The free throw line is huge. That’s one thing that stood out (in the first meeting). It was 33 (for Alabama) to nine, and we lead the league in free throw attempts in conference play.
“The key is we have to make sure we do a great job on the glass.”
“That’s something we were pretty good at in the non-conference. Ronnie Brewer gets to the basket. He finds different ways to do it. Jonathon Modica also does that, and Charles Thomas is good. I think that is just the makeup of our team. We attack. I would like to see us get greedy and get the old fashioned three-point play.”
“It will continue to be by committee, depending on who is in the game. There is a system to it. It depends on how things are going. I go by who is playing well. Dontell could be valuable because he can defend, move his feet and he has some length. Because of Sean McCurdy’s youth, Eric being more of a two guard and Dontell playing this many minutes for the first time, we just haven’t solidified that spot.”
This year’s game at Alabama (78-75 overtime loss):
“Everybody is playing to win. It’s a big, big game. That first game set us back. Momentum is a funny thing. We did not put our heads down or anything, but if we had won that one, it could have had a positive affect.”
Inside play (against Florida):
“Vincent Hunter had his best game. He played some valuable minutes. Steven Hill, with his energy and effort, was all over the place. Charles Thomas was solid and Darian Townes, even though he missed some shots, still had seven rebounds.”