No Orange Hangover

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey knows his team has to put a humbling loss to Texas in the rear view mirror because a very good Tennessee team is set to arrive at Bud Walton Arena Saturday to help the Razorbacks open SEC play

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and his players stressed Thursday that it was time to put one orange-clad team in the rear view mirror and concentrate totally on the oncoming one.

The Razorbacks were thrashed 79-46 at Texas on Tuesday, a day before Tennessee drilled visiting Memphis 104-84.

Now the Volunteers (10-4) come calling on the Razorbacks (10-3) Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the SEC opener for both teams.

"Obviously, that was tough," noted Arkansas junior Rotnei Clarke of the Texas loss. "The only thing we can do is learn from it. We took what we did down there and looked at it and talked about it, and we're getting refocused and putting that game behind us."

Pelphrey said he knows Tennessee – who started out great before skidding through a three-game losing streak - got his team's attention with their rout of Memphis.

"What I would hope for is they (the Razorbacks) would want to play better than the last time out," Pelphrey said Thursday, "and that this gives us even more of an understanding how good Tennessee is and how good we have to be. Hopefully all of that will put us with more of a sense of urgency."

Arkansas junior guard Jeff Peterson said his team would have been ready to play either either way against Tennessee, whose head coach Bruce Pearl will begin serving an eight-game suspension on Saturday.

"We know they're a great team," Peterson said. "We're going to have to respect them. Even if they would've lost to Memphis by 20, that wouldn't change our mindset. We knew they were going to come in here on Saturday ready to play us. It's SEC season. Everything is on the line now."

Arkansas' two previous losses had been in overtime to UAB and Texas A&M and were obviously tight games.

The loss to the Longhorns was clear it was going to happen soon after tip-off.

"A loss is a loss," Pelphrey said. "It's one game not two, just like a win is one game. The overtime losses - it kind of gnaws at you that two or three plays probably could have won those overtime games. The other night that wasn't the case. Two or three plays weren't going to matter. You find issues with losing either way, but those things are behind us with our home opener coming in the SEC."

Peterson knows his team did not play hard and smart on Tuesday night.

"I think that we've learned that with the first two losses we did some things wrong, but we really fought," Peterson said. "We really competed in those first two losses. This past loss, it seemed like it was kind of a gut check. We really weren't ready to come out like that.

" I think our team learned that if adversity comes that we have to stay together and not go our separate ways," Peterson added. "I think that's a very big lesson for us. I think it will definitely help us during the conference.

Clarke agreed with that assessment.

"We know we've got to handle adversity better than we did and we believe we'll do that," Clarke said.

One big factor in the loss to Texas was Arkansas' whopping 23 turnovers, 10 by point guards Peterson and Julysess Nobles.

"A lot of it was us," Peterson said. "They didn't press us too much, if at all. I think it just comes from the mindset of being focused. and we weren't the ones who focused."

Pelphrey noted that the point guards have to take care of the ball.

It's not hard to look where it needs to start," Pelphrey said. "With those two guys (Peterson and Nobles) it is uncharacteristic. They know they need to take care of the basketball. All of them do, but certainly at that position where those guys are the first ones to receive it on the first pass from our offense."


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