Hogs Prepare for Troy

Arkansas plays host to Troy at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Trojans play at a fast pace and feature a former Razorback player.

John Pelphrey knows what to expect from Troy coach Don Maestri. The two matched teams in the Sun Belt Conference for four seasons.

"I have tremendous respect for their program," Pelphrey said Thursday. "We went against them in that league and had some very good battles."

Troy's Trojans (1-5) have already battled on the road, losing 78-57 to Alabama-Birmingham and at Mississippi State in overtime.

"So we know they are battle tested," Pelphrey said. "I was in that league and know what it's like to play those tough early schedules like they are playing. They will be ready for this road game."

Pelphrey thinks the Hogs (4-1) will be closer to full strength against the Trojans. Guard Marcus Britt (sprained toe) did not play in Wednesday's victory over Oklahoma. He will be available on Saturday. Forward Marshawn Powell is still fighting through a rehab from a broken foot.

"Marshawn is still not 100 percent," Pelphrey said. "We need him back full speed. It's tough on him because he needs the practice. The practices are as important as the games. He has to make sure he doesn't do too much in practice, but still get ready. It's hard to do."

The Hogs defeated Oklahoma, 84-74, on Wednesday night. They had two clear edges in the game, winning the turnover battle, 22-12, and outscoring the Sooners, 23-9, at the foul line.

"Those are two areas we talk about getting an edge," Pelphrey said. "We put the free throw numbers on the board and talk about them. We'd been behind as far as those numbers in our first four games, so that was an improvement."

"We'd like to continue that. It's a big part of what we want to do. We'd like to win the turnover battle and then not put the other team on the line as much as we've been doing. That was better last night."

Troy likes to fire from the 3-point line, something Pelphrey said will be tough on the Arkansas defense.

"We didn't stop the dribble penetration against UAB (in an overtime loss) and we did a better job of that (against Oklahoma)," Pelphrey said. "(UAB guard) Aaron Johnson is really good. We didn't see anyone like that last night and won't many nights.

"Going back to that game, we talked about stopping him without just having to attack with too many people. He'd beat our first man, then beat a second and we'd go at him with a third one. The thing was you think he's killing you with shots, but he only made three. Stopping him from shooting is not what you have to do. You have to stop him from passing.

"I thought we did a much better job of stopping the penetration against Oklahoma. In this next game, the challenge will be the ball fakes from what they do from the 3-point line. They are going to put four guys on the 3-point line and then will try to break us down with ball fakes. That's what the challenge will be in this game.

"We have to continue to defend without fouling. We know they will have feedback from our UAB game. We'll have feedback, too. We know this will be a very well prepared opponent."

The Hogs will be going against a former player. Levan Patsatsia, 6-6 guard, played one year for Pelphrey at Arkansas before transferring to Troy. He's averaging 13.8 points in his senior season.

"He plays three positions for them, sometimes even playing some point," Pelphrey said. "He's done a nice job for them and had a good career with them"

The Trojans surround 6-10 center Bernard Toombs with four shooters. Toombs averages 11.3 points and 10.0 rebounds. Guard Vernon Taylor, 6-3 senior, leads the Troy scoring at 16.7 points per game.

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