Bouncing Back Again

An Arkansas basketball team off a mid-week loss - for the second time in as many weeks - gets a chance to rebound on Saturday afternoon when the Razorbacks (11-4, 1-1) host Alabama (10-6, 2-0) in a 12:47 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.

Another mid-week disappointment, another chance to rebound with a home win.

That's been the two-week story of Arkansas' early conference season as the Razorbacks will try to get up off the deck again after Wednesday's losing effort at LSU.

Alabama (10-6, 2-0) will visit Arkansas (11-4, 1-1) Saturday at 12:47 p.m.

"We want to show people we can bounce back from a tough loss like we did against Tennessee after the Texas game," Razorback center Delvon Johnson said.

They'll certainly get the chance, but it won't wipe away the loss at LSU, which left Arkansas point guard Jeff Peterson in misery, especially after his three-pointer went awry in the final seconds.

The Razorbacks played hard in the second half, but a 39-21 deficit proved too much to overcome after a listless start.

"We need to work on giving better effort consistently and doing it the right way," Peterson said.

Arkansas is 10-0 this season at home, but 0-2 on the road. One was a blowout, one a missed opportunity against a team that had not been very good at home this season.

"If we want to get to where we wanted to go by the end of the season, we've got to start winning on the road - bottom line," Peterson said.

Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey knows the losses hurt his team and the fan base, but tried to stress it hurts him more than anyone.

"The expectations I have far exceed the ones of the fan base," Pelphrey said.

Arkansas missed its first nine shots from the field, ended the night 2-of-20 from 3-point range and did not look ready to play from the opening tip.

"I thought we got good looks, but the shots just didn't go down," Pelphrey said. "…It was one of those nights. We didn't do a good job of scoring the ball."

The Crimson Tide have indeed won five in a row, the last victory a 57-47 home one over South Carolina in which they failed to make a 3-pointer and had nine shots blocked.

But it was the defense that won it for Bama – in a game that might have set basketball back nine years according to one Alabama columnist although he could easily have been talking about LSU's 56-53 win over Arkansas.

"I just looked at the stat sheet, and we only took three (treys) in the game," Alabama head coach Anthony Grants said after the game "That's even more impressive, to get a 10-point win in this league (without making a 3-pointer). It shows what kind of defense they (the Crimson Tide) played."

South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn, whose team was within four points late, was impressed with what he saw from Alabama, who struggled in non-conference season action.

"They're physical," Horn said. "They have juniors and seniors out there that are physically mature and they do a good job of knocking you off on the drives. They're really aggressive slapping and reaching at the basketball. We knew that coming in and that was something that we prepared for, but our guys on a whole didn't do a good job handling it."

Alabama had already gone to Mississippi State and pounded the Bulldogs 75-57 in its SEC opener last weekend.

Alabama is led by JaMychal Green, who has shook off an early season suspension and is averaging 15.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game to pair with Tony Mitchell (14.4, 8.1) as the Tide's leading scorers.

Grant thinks the Tide will find a tough place to play this weekend in Fayetteville, where Arkansas is 10-0 this season – albeit with Tennessee and Oklahoma being the only "name teams" that the Razorbacks have beaten this campaign.

"First of all, we have great respect for John Pelphrey and his staff," Grant noted. " Going on the road, we'll be playing in one of the best atmospheres in college basketball in Bud Walton Arena. And Arkansas is coming off a tough road loss."


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