Although Arkansas' basketball team took its time in getting the season started, the Razorbacks will get all the action they want this week.
Arkansas (1-0) will play a trio of home games this week with Florida Gulf Coast visiting Bud Walton Arena on Monday, Southeast Missouri State coming in on Wednesday and then the Hogs traveling to North Little Rock on Friday night to face UAB.
The first two games this week are part of the Razorback Showcase – which is basically a tournament played on different campus sites allowing the teams to get some exempt games.
"It's a pro week," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said. "These guys talk about wanting to play at the next level and earn money doing this. Well, they are going to get a taste of what it is really like. They have got to take care of their bodies, take care of responsibilities during the day."
That's three game days and two practice days in a matter of five days – and a need for plenty of rest in between per Razorback junior guard Rotnei Clarke, who had a game-high 20 points in his team's 79-54 season-opening win over Grambling State.
"It's going to be tough," Clarke said. "Like we just talked about in there (the locker room), we'll have to get our rest, make sure we have our legs and come back and practice and be focused and be ready because it is going to be a tough grind to grind."
Pelphrey noted he would not rather be playing three games in five days, but that is the way the schedule fell.
"Scheduling is always hard," Pelphrey said. "Sometimes you are trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, especially early on here."
The three foes are a combined 4-5 so far this season with Florida Gulf Coast (2-1), Southeast Missouri State (0-3) and UAB (2-1), who lost 69-66 at Arizona State on Saturday night, all having played a trio of games so far.
Florida Gulf Coast, who opened its season with an 88-60 loss at Indiana, held on for 74-70 road win at Grambling on Saturday night.
"I'm really happy with the way we came out in the second half to take the win after a disappointing first half," said FGC head coach Dave Balza. "I thought our older guys showed a lot of leadership in getting us a double figure lead and then down the stretch to preserve the win. All together we have a lot to work on, but a road win is always satisfying."
Senior shooting guard Reed Baker (6-1) had a game-high 23 points. That included hitting 14-of-16 free throws in the contest with seven of them happening in the final minute of the win.
Junior forward Tim Snyder (6-7, 217) added a career-high 21 points while redshirt sophomore forward Anthony Banks (6-6, 210) chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds on what was his 21st birthday.
Baker had a career-high 28 points and junior point guard Marion Riveria (6-2, 180) just missed a triple double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists in a 89-78 win over Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday.
The Razorbacks will be able to attack the week with 11 scholarship players and two very capable walk ons – all of whom played in the first game.
"We are going to continue to play a lot of folks because we're going to need them all," Pelphrey said. "You never know when something might come up."
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