FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Mississippi State in its regular-season home finale on Wednesday. The Razorbacks are 16-12 overall while MSU is 16-11. The Bulldogs won the first meeting at Starkville two weeks ago, 84-60. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“The biggest thing I’m going to do is inspire and encourage my guys. We want to finish strong and have fun.
“Mississippi State is good. They’ve won four of their last five and they have good three-point shooting. Jamont Gordon is one of the more difficult guards in the league to guard. (Forward) Charles Rhodes is playing his best basketball.
“I don’t think they can shoot as well as they did the last time we played. They were 11-of-19 (on threes), and walk-ons and backups missed their last three. Man-to-man will be our primary defense. We have to make sure other things we do don’t enhance their three-point shooting.
“We’ll look at different matchups with Gordon and do a better job of slowing him down on the break so he doesn’t get a full head of steam going.”
“We’ve jumped on them, too. I don’t think it’s a lack of guys trying. Sometimes we make mistakes. We’ve tried to put a band aid on our ball handling. It really comes down to a fundamental thing.
“I got inspired just watching LSU play Florida. When I saw LSU beat Florida, I thought this is a wacky league. Anything can happen. We’re going to ride on that hope.
“I think the team has been pressing. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I think that comes from the guys trying not to make mistakes. Our approach is about the team, playing hard and enjoying ourselves.
“Our last game is behind us. The sun is shining. It’s a bright and beautiful day. I’ve always been a positive person and had a lot of faith in God. That’s where my strength comes from.
“I want to coach basketball and have our guys play the right way.”
“A lot of teams come in and say, let’s slow down Patrick Beverley and that gives them the best chance to win. We have to screen for him better. We need other guys to step up and be productive. I don’t want a freshman to have to carry us. I don’t think that’s fair to Patrick.”