On To Victory

Arkansas will unveil junior guards Jeff Peterson and Rotnei Clarke for the first time this preseason when the Razorbacks host Memphis-based Victory University Thursday night in a 7 p.m. exhibition game at Bud Walton Arena.

The band's finally getting back together.

It appears the entire Arkansas basketball roster will be able to see action Thursday night when the Razorbacks host Memphis' Victory University in a 7 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.

That includes Iowa transfer point guard Jeff Peterson (hamstring) and junior backcourt mate Rotnei Clarke (suspension), who both missed the Red-White and 101-60 exhibition win over LeMoyne-Owen on Saturday afternoon.

"It's important I think," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said of getting the backcourt duo some action. "It's not the end of the world, but we would like to have those guys get some reps. We want to have all the guys get some reps. It's probably more important for me to see how we are responding and find the right combination, get rotations."

Peterson sat out last season while redshirting and has been eased into practice. His minutes will be limited similar to how forward Marshawn Powell was on Saturday when he played 11 minutes.

"He (Peterson) is practicing more and we are leaving him in for some competitive parts of practice," Pelphrey said. "…It's all limited and will be very similar to Marshawn the other night. He didn't play very many minutes. We don't want Jeff's first game to be the home opener if we can avoid it."

Clarke, one of the nation's best 3-point shooters and the team's leading returning scorer, will see his first action this preseason just in time for next Thursday's regular season opener with Grambling.

"It will be good to have Rotnei back out there with us, to get his input," Pelphrey said. "He has been practicing very well and I think the guys are doing a good job finding him. It makes them better as well."

Victory University has already played three games with losses to Blue Mountain (80-71) and Mississippi Valley State (95-86) sandwiched around a win over Lyon College (95-88).

The visitors are led by 6-1 Memphis native Myron Strong, who scored 28 points against Mississippi Valley State.

"We have a limited basis of film with this opponent, but there will be a element of guarding the basketball, trying to keep them out of drive and kick situations," Pelphrey said. "They are certainly very capable of getting it going from behind the 3-point line and they have one tremendous scorer.

"It will be a very good test for us in some areas defensively and we'll see how we respond as we get ready for our season," Pelphrey added.

True freshmen Rickey Scott had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Arkansas players scoring in double figures while the defense forced a whopping 33 turnovers.

"We are certainly looking forward to progress on both sides of the basketball," Pelphrey said.

The SEC has seen some surprising results in exhibition play with Indianapolis upsetting Tennessee 79-64, Columbus State edging Auburn 54-52 and Alabama getting pushed to double overtime before downing Alabama-Huntsville 73-68.

"A couple of things come to mind," Pelphrey said. "Sometimes players wonder why coaches are so on edge, focused and talk about every game being important. I think these are good examples why. But I am sure those schools understand that is it not truly a loss on their schedule.

"…You certainly don't want to go through that and you want to win every single time," Pelphrey added. "But I think it gives you something you can talk about with your team and understand that every time you take the court, there are some players on the other end of the floor, some coaches on the other end of the floor who work very hard and are out there competing and loving the game of basketball just like you are."


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