FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to California University (Pa.) on Monday at 7:05 p.m. in its second exhibition game of the season. The Razorbacks won their exhibition opener on Oct. 31 against Xavier-New Orleans, 82-49. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“You learn a lot when you watch film. That left me with good impressions (of the Xavier game). We had emphasized defense in practice and we got good defense. Our guys worked hard. They were sacrificing their bodies. Heading into (this next game), more emphasis will be on offense. We want to play at a fast pace, but there will be times when we will need to play in the half court. We need to work on our patience.
“Our veteran players played like veterans – Steven Hill, Charles Thomas, Darian Townes and Vincent Hunter. Vince played a very, very good game. Those veterans, along with Sean McCurdy and even Cyrus McGowan, looked like they knew what they were doing. It’s time to get our newcomers up to speed. They all know they probably tried to force things a little, but their defense was good and I liked their effort.
“To force 26 turnovers was impressive. I know that was against a smaller team, but sometimes when you play smaller teams with three, four or even five ball-handlers, it’s harder to pressure them.”
“(Head coach) Bill Brown has been here (as an assistant to Eddie Sutton from 1981-85). It’s a way to help them out while knowing the type of team and program they have will also help us prepare. We saw each other on the road recruiting and we talked about it. He also knows Dan (Hipsher, UA assistant coach) from the past and we worked it out.
“We want to use this game to try to perfect some of the things we’ve been working on.”
Offense and defense:
“In some ways, I still think our offense is ahead of the defense, but in the exhibition game, the defense clearly graded out higher. I expect us to make some of those shots we missed, especially some of those threes and layups.”
“At times, he can bring the ball up the floor and although he didn’t show it off (against Xavier), he has a very good three-point shot. He had a very efficient game. He’s been through a lot. He’s a very versatile player and he’s has a lot of confidence right now.”
“He got hit in the head (during the game) and was a little dizzy, and those are symptoms of a slight concussion. He was very impressive. He was under control and made some great plays, and he played solid defense. His stock was never down to me, but it certainly went up. At the start of the second half, he really picked things up for us. He now understands he has four other guys out there and he can feed off of them. He looked very much under control and that’s the biggest improvement in his game from last year.”
Vincent Hunter and Charles Thomas playing together:
“The Vincent Hunter and Charles Thomas combination, and I think Sean was with them in the second half, was a strong combination. We lose a little speed, but we gain some strength. That could be a difficult matchup for opponents.”