FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas returns to action on Friday at 7:05 p.m. when the Razorbacks play host to Oral Roberts in a game televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. UA is 8-3 following Wednesday’s 80-76 loss at Texas. ORU is 5-5, but one of those wins is a 78-71 victory at No. 3 Kansas. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“We’ve got to get back on the winning track. Pookie (Jonathon Modica) came by and gave an interesting speech today. He told us everything was going to be all right.
“I have to make sure our players know Oral Roberts is coming in here to kick our tails. We have to make sure we put Wednesday behind us. We have to come out with energy and fire in our bellies.
“ORU is very good. I expect them to win their league and be in the NCAA Tournament. When they’ve played the premiere schools on their schedule, you see a different Oral Roberts. Caleb Green and Ken Tutt are a great 1-2 punch. We have to pay attention to those two key guys, but make sure no one else steps up and beats us.
“ORU is a well-schooled ball club and I think we’ll get one of their best shots.
“We have to come to play and respond. If our guys can physically get back (from the Texas game), and more importantly come back mentally, we’ll be fine.”
“We were up one with 22 seconds to go and up six with five and a half minutes left. We needed a defensive stop or a key rebound. It was a one possession game. We were in position to win. You can’t ask for anything better. We have to close it out.
“Our effort was good. Our guys worked their tails off. We have to play that way every game.”
“We’re starting to understand the value of the ball. We’re becoming more of a team, understanding our strengths and playing to them. We’re getting our perimeter guys to realize we can use the inside guys, and Patrick still had 19 and Sonny had 15.
Texas Tech game:
“Our kids were embarrassed. We stood around on offense and didn’t guard anybody. We knew we were better than that.”
“He knows his strengths. He still needs to work on his 17-foot jumper, but he knows his strength and what his bread and butter is. Before the season, we talked about him maybe being the guy that would rise to the top for us. Now we’re starting to see that. As more and more teams concentrate on him, he will have to be prepared to pass out of double teams to open teammates.”
Pace and tempo:
“We want to keep it balanced. When it’s (a break) not there, especially with Charles Thomas and Darian Townes, we have to realize our inside can help us. Turnovers have been the stinger for us. When we’re good in that area, that makes us a better team. We’re seeing better passes and better decisions. It’s like the old (John) Wooden phrase, ‘Play fast, but don’t play in a hurry.’”