Tuesday Night Tussle

While Arkansas (12-6, 2-3) is trying to put its Saturday Night non-special in Florida behind it, Auburn (7-12, 0-5) is just trying to scratch in the win column Tuesday night when the teams meet in an 8 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.

One team is coming off a 32-point beat down on the road.

The other has not won a conference game.

Auburn (7-12, 0-5) visits Arkansas (12-6, 2-3) Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in a game that will be televised by ESPN and features two teams who could really use some positive vibes.

"We have to win," Razorback junior guard Rotnei Clarke said. "We?must win. There are no other options."

It really can be viewed as a must-win game for Arkansas seeing as how a loss would just pile frustration on top of the 75-43 humbling at Florida Saturday night.

It was the second loss of at least 30 points on the road this season for the Razorbacks, but they are 11-0 at home this season.

"I think we would all rather play at home than on the road and certainly coming off a loss you would rather do that," Pelphrey said. "We understand that guarantees us nothing and we have to come out and play and perform and be tough and by physical and do all those things that that help you win. Obviously when we play in this arena we are inspired by the fans."

Auburn first-year coach Tony Barbee is just looking to get in the win column, but knows it won't be easy this week with games at Arkansas and South Carolina.

"We're sitting 0-5 in the conference right now and you want to try and scratch in that win column," Barbee said. "It is a difficult task when your two games are on the road at two difficult places to play in this conference – at Arkansas and at South Carolina."

Pelphrey says he certainly didn't see the blowout coming that Arkansas experienced on Saturday.

"I think were all a little surprised that we didn't play well," Pelphrey said. "…I think it was a combination of things. I thought we could have competed harder. I thought Florida played very well. They had good balance and were able to have some success inside early and we have got to do some things better on the perimeter. We really struggled shooting the basketball."

The Florida loss came after a good effort on the road – albeit ending up a 70-65 loss at South Carolina.

Asked if that too the wind out of Arkansas' sails before the game with the Gators, Pelphrey wouldn't bite.

"We certainly aren't going to use that as an excuse," Pelphrey said. "It was a tough week."

He does think his team will get back up off the deck.

"We all wanted to compete and get a win and we didn't do it this week," Pelphrey said. "I think they will be very resilient."

Auburn is winless in conference play, but has at least been competitive lately after getting blown out early.

"I think Tony has got them playing very hard," Pelphrey said. "They are being aggressive. I think there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm there."

Barbee knows his team is not talented, but can put out effort and he gets it.

"Because I am going to demand it every single day," Barbee said. "The thing we are trying to do as a staff is stay positive and upbeat. When you do that, the kids sense that.

"If you show frustration or any sense that you are letting down in terms of your intensity as a coach or a staff, then the players feel that as well," Barbee added.

Visiting Florida rallied to down Auburn 45-40 last Thursday – two days before the Tigers were downed by Alabama 68-58.

"I have been pleased with our effort especially over the last two games against Alabama and Florida," ?Barbee said. "We have to be good defensive because of how limited we are offensively. We have been very good the last two games. But at the end of the day this isn't baseball and you aren't going to pitch many shutouts so you have to be able to score the basketball and the team with the most points wins."?

Auburn has only one player averaging in double figures in 6-5 sophomore guard Earnest Ross (12.7) and he is also the team's leading rebounder (7.0).

He joins 6-8 junior Kenny Gabriel (9.9, 6.1), 6-10 sophomore center Rob Chubb (7.9, 4.1), 6-6 freshman forward Allen Payne (5.3) and 5-10 sophomore guard Josh Wallace (5.3).

Arkansas now has three players in double figures led by Clarke (12.3), 6-9 senior center Delvon Johnson (10.8, 7.9) and 6-7 sophomore forward Marshawn Powell (10.3) while 6-1 sophomore guard Julysess Nobles (8.6) and 6-0 junior guard Jeff Peterson (7.1) have also been in the starting line-up lately.

Clarke had just 5 points at South Carolina and was scoreless at Florida. He has been stymied by defensive game plans lately.

"The reason he is struggling to score," Barbee said, "is how all the teams play him? defensively. He is such a threat because not only can he shoot the ball but he can? score the ball with pump fakes and getting the mid-range shots. Teams are sticking? a defender on him with no concerns for about anything else that happens on the ?floor."

"Hopefully we can keep his struggles going," Barbee said.

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