FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Vanderbilt on Saturday in a 2:05 p.m. non-televised game. Arkansas is 11-4 overall and 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference. The Commodores are 11-2 overall and 2-0. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.
“Vanderbilt is probably the most difficult team in our conference to prepare for. They have an array of sets and backdoor cuts to get baskets. You have to pick and choose how you guard them. Kentucky was a tremendous win for them. It’s important for us to protect home. I know I say that a lot, but it is important. We have 14 (SEC) games left, but this is the most important one.
“Vanderbilt is better because this is the most athletic team they’ve had that I’ve faced. Mario Moore and Julian Terrell have been there a long time and their three wing players – Shan Foster, Derrick Byars and DeMarre Carroll – are very athletic.”
“To hold Glen Davis to five-of-19 shooting and Darrel Mitchell to six points was a phenomenal job. We did some things well. Mentally, we would miss a shot and I think it affected us on our next shot. Against the zone, we forgot how to get the ball inside. We really need to have balance inside and out.
“We fought our way back into it. We needed to make a couple of crucial plays and we didn’t. We need some breaks to go our way. We settled for open shots that were good shots.”
Team meeting (after the LSU game):
“We met to make sure we had our heads right. Everybody talked. We talked about finishing plays. We had shots in close, we just didn’t make them. We have to make free throws. We defended well, but they had key possessions late in the game where we gave up second-chance points.
“We talked about how much the game hurt, but we don’t want it to break their confidence. The next couple of days we have to find out how hungry we are. Are they going to make sacrifices and put their heart out there to get the job done?”
Freshmen Sean McCurdy and Cyrus McGowan:
“I like what I saw from the two freshmen. I’ve got to find them more minutes and get them more involved. They are both tough – Sean with his ability to make shots and Cyrus with his ability to get rebounds.
“With Sean, I like his energy. He’s active and he hustles. He has a presence about himself. He has the ability to make shots and he had four assists (against LSU in 10 minutes).
“Cyrus doesn’t back down. He will mix it up with anybody. He also has a 12-to-15-foot shot he can knock down with relative consistency.”
“LSU’s freshmen are deceptive. Tyrus Thomas and Garrett Temple are redshirt freshmen, and Tasmin Mitchell is a stud. He was one of the top players in the country. They do have youth, but there is more experience there than meets the eye.”