FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas travels to Ole Miss for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday. The game is not televised. The Razorbacks are 16-7 overall and 5-5 in the SEC following Saturday’s 84-64 victory over Auburn. Ole Miss is 13-10 overall and 3-7 after losing at home to Alabama. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“This road game is important. Both teams are physical. I’ve been watching tape of only their games at home. They play at a much higher level at home. I have to make sure our players understand that and that we’re prepared for that.
“They have changed their lineup since the first time we played. Brandon Patterson has been starting and we may see a little more zone. Our team, offensively, in the last four or five games has some impressive numbers. Going through the stats, you would think we could be 7-3. Everything across the board is better (than last year) except rebounding.
“Trey Hampton can play inside or outside, and he can put the ball on the floor and drive. He’s had some good games. Dwayne Curtis and Todd Abernethy are their two main guys. A lot of things happen through them, but they also have Bam Doyne, Clarence Sanders and Londrick Nolen.
“I’m sure they will go to Dwayne and try to establish him inside. Most teams are using their defensive schemes to limit his touches. He’s tough when he gets it in close.
“Ole Miss is dangerous. Their backs are against the wall. I see them coming out with an aggressive attitude, not that they didn’t do that before, but being at home makes them more dangerous. The start is a key. We have to be prepared for a rough game that goes down to the last two or three possessions and find a way to win it.
“This is a key game for us. The players know they have gone there and won. We had to make some plays to win it. In the last minute, we were down four and Dontell Jefferson hit the free throw, but that was last year.”
“Sometimes you need a break and it doesn’t happen. Sometimes you have to create your own break. If a guy hits a 40-footer, there’s nothing you can do about that, but you can do everything else.
“Every game is a little different and has a different story line to it. We are better and I think everybody sees tremendous improvement over last year, but we still have to close out games. We have to not only know how to win, but expect it. I really feel that’s the last piece we’re missing.”
Getting above .500 in SEC play:
“It would be a big boost. We lost the first two and dug ourselves a hole. Since then, we’ve won five of eight. Winning is contagious. We want to get on a contagious winning streak as we go down the stretch.”
Ronnie Brewer and Jonathon Modica:
“They are learning how to compliment each other and make each other better. What has happened is that they have made each other harder to guard. They look for each other. They are starting to get a better connection and understand how it helps them both. I’ve seen that connection on breaks and in transition. They are both really good finishers.
“I am so proud of Jonathon. You guys have no idea. He’s playing on a consistent level, he brings it every day in practice and he’s put a lot on his shoulders.”