FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Central Michigan on Tuesday in a 7:05 p.m. game televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. The Razorbacks are 6-1 following Saturday’s 71-61 home victory over Missouri-Kansas City. CMU is 3-3, but topped UMKC 85-68 on Nov. 19. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“This is our last game heading into final exams. We want to go into the exam period off a win. Our scoring is something we need to boost. We’re missing about six points a game. Our turnover margin is not where it should be. We’re giving up too many possessions. If we can get back four or five possessions and get another four-to-six points, that would put us where we should be.
“I’ve challenged Gary Ervin. A guy with his speed should have more than four steals. Sonny Weems can get more done. Patrick Beverley has done a nice job. We need to have the mentality of making each other better. We need to make Steven Hill a better offensive player by setting him up.
“Central Michigan has had some tough losses and they’ve had some good wins. They have a really good point guard in Giordan Watson. He scores a lot of points. Our big guys need to get out and challenge their shots. Their coach (Ernie Zeigler) came from UCLA and they look similar to UCLA. They run their sets and they play hard.
“We have to be ready to play. Our room for error is not great. We can’t play poorly and beat teams. We have to play well. We have to show up and have a certain level of intensity.”
Gary Ervin and Sonny Weems struggling:
“They are new. One guy sat out (Ervin) last year and one is from junior college. Patrick Beverley has been pretty consistent as a freshman, but that is not the norm. Give Gary credit. He responded in the last game. He took shots when he had them and didn’t force anything. That was not Sonny (against UMKC), but I’m proud of Preston (Cranford) for stepping in there and playing well.”
“I think we can make better decisions. The majority of our turnovers are coming in the front-court, from half-court to the basket. We’re giving it up on charges and on rebounds and getting stripped. Those are toughness things and we’ll get better. Sometimes guys speed up and play a little faster than they should.”
Areas to improve:
“We want to increase the pressure. We’re not disrupting as much as we need to. In addition to cutting turnovers from 18 to 13, we would like to get into the 70s and 80s scoring. There are some little things like getting the ball out faster and having our wings run the floor. We need to get our turnover margin cleaned up. Everything else is pretty good.”
“Steven Hill did not practice on Sunday. He’s been a little sick. That spot will be either Steven or Darian Townes. The others will probably be Sonny, Patrick, Charles and Gary. Sean (McCurdy) played well (in the start against UMKC), but I think Gary deserves to be in there.”
“We run some drills and emphasize rebounding, but we’re not doing a whole lot different from the past. We’ve out-rebounded our opponent in every game this year and that is significant. We’ve been able to take advantage of teams that want to zone us. We’ve kept our big guys around the basket and they’ve done a good job cleaning up. That has helped balance our possessions to some degree, but we still need to get more deflections.”