Rattling The Rattlers

Playing a rare late non-conference game, Arkansas (15-9) hopes to pick up some added momentum by downing Florida A&M (11-15) Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

Florida A&M may not have a very good record, but the Rattlers are making noise headed to Fayetteville.

The Rattlers won their fourth straight game when they downed visiting Delaware State 69-65 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game on Monday night.

That means that Arkansas (15-9) certainly can't overlook Florida A&M (11-15) when the two meet up Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

"It looks like they are playing their best basketball of the season," Razorback head coach John Pelphrey said. "We'll have to be on edge and alert and hopefully we will come out and be very, very passionate and energetic and back up Saturday's performance."

It is a rare February non-conference game and comes on the only SEC open date the Razorbacks have – one that has traditionally fallen in January.

"There are a lot of things that go into it and you are trying to fill a schedule," Pelphrey said. "I think this year we had the three extra games because of our exempt deal or whatever. The calendar just gets full and trying to find a place to put one…We had a bye week here and just got it in there."

While it might have been better to rest, Pelphrey noted that his team had gotten a couple of days off with missing a workout Thursday because of travel and an NCAA mandated day off on Sunday.

"I don't feel like us playing a mid-week game really takes anything away," Pelphrey said. "Hopefully we are be energized to attack this last part of our season."

Arkansas hammered LSU 80-61 last Saturday in a game it led by close to 30 points midway through the second half.

That was the program's 15th win, one more than it has had the last two seasons and ended a three-game losing streak.

His team played with a sense of urgency –as it did in its win at then-No. 19 Vanderbilt in its previous win two weeks earlier.

"As a coach, there are always thing that concern you, but we will try to turn that fear into faith, go out and get prepared and play as hard as we possibly can," Pelphrey said. "I will be disappointed if there is a letdown."

The Rattlers are led by 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Amin Stevens (14.2, 7.9), a Georgia native who is their only double figure scorer.

He is joined in the starting line-up by freshman guard Avery Moore (9.6), 6-8 forward Yannick Crowder (7.5, 6.7), 6-6 forward Larry Jackson (7.5, 6.3) and 6-1 senior guard Rasheem Jenkins (6.7).

"We have got to come out and play hard no matter who it is," Arkansas freshman guard Mardracus Wade said. "We can't be thinking this is a non-conference game and we can just come in here and beat these guys. It is not going to be that easy. These guys think they can beat us so we have to come in with a little more fight, a little more dog in us."


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