FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Auburn on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in a game being televised by Lincoln Financial Sports. The Razorbacks are 14-8 overall and 3-5 in the SEC while the Tigers are 14-10 and 4-5. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“We’re half way through the conference schedule and we’re a little behind. We have to catch up. Auburn is much improved. Of all the team in the league, outside of Georgia, they’ve really stepped it up. Four of their top five guys returned and they added Quan Prowell.
“Three-point shooting will be a big key. They shoot a lot of threes. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense. We also have to handle their defensive style. They mix things up.
“Auburn has very athletic and long guards. They have good size.”
Charles Thomas (missed the Kentucky game with a strained right shoulder):
“We will know a little more after today. He has to go through contact and practice. If he can take the hits, he’ll be out there. He was able to extend his arm all the way on Friday, so the issue was getting hit and responding. He took Sunday off, but he has been going through light strength training and has been doing a lot of shooting.”
“He played 20 minutes (against Kentucky) and that was no accident. He handled pressure, got us involved and deserves another opportunity to get out there. All those guys (guards) need to get their minutes down – Patrick, Gary and Sonny. In the second half of games, around the eight-to-10-minute mark, we take a little hit, and I think that’s because those guys play so much.
“He gave us a nice lift. Hopefully we can build on that. This has been about a two-week process. We started rotating him in at point guard in practice before we threw him out there in the fire. We didn’t want to just throw him out there before he was ready and I’m glad we didn’t do that. We looked at Pat, too.”
“It’s like having the flu. It’s a bug and it’s bothering us. We cut it down and get rid of it for a while, but it hits you again. We’ve put a heavy emphasis on it in practice. We’re using learning, emphasis and penalties. Running (as a penalty) is about the best thing you can do.
“It’s fixable. That’s our job and that’s what we have to do.”
Last year’s second-half run:
“Ronnie Brewer having the ball in his hands (at point guard) was big, but having his game step up was bigger. We never gave up. We got one win, then two wins and got our confidence going and things started rolling.
“Building momentum is what has been missing.”