Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson's biggest chore now is making sure his team doesn't check out before it clocks out.
The Razorbacks (7-3) will get Christmas break immediately after taking on Louisiana Tech (7-5) Thursday night at 7 p.m inside Bud Walton Arena.
"You have got to keep them focused on the task at hand," Anderson said.
Arkansas senior forward Marvell Waithe knows the challenges from Christmas past.
"I'm a senior so I have been around when Christmas break comes around," Waithe said. "A lot of guys kind of check out because everybody gets to go home. We have got to make it our duty to leave everything on he floor before we go home for a few days and then pick up where we left off."
The players will be free from right after the game until a Christmas night practice at 8 p.m.
"We have got to practice on Christmas, but I am not a total Scrooge," Anderson said. "Just a partial one."
Arkansas is coming off a win Tuesday night over Eastern Kentucky (71-57), a game the Razorbacks led by 19 with just under 15 minutes left.
The Colonels trimmed that lead to 10 points late, something that displeased Anderson.
"I thought our defense was good at times, but we just have to learn how to become a better finishing team," Anderson said. "Especially here. But no matter where we play you have to be able to finish off a team in a fine fashion."
Louisiana Tech – coached by former Ole Miss player and assistant coach Michael White - comes into Thursday night's game after a 56-53 home win over Northeastern on Tuesday night.
That was just two days after the Bulldogs rallied rallying from 15 points down to edge visiting UALR 71-68 on Sunday.
Arkansas native Raheem Appleby (10.1) - a 6-2 freshman guard from Jacksonville - has led his team in scoring the past two games with 26 and 22 points, respectively.
He is joined in the backcourt by another former Arkansas prep standout in Conway's Kenyon McNeail, a 6-2 sophomore averaging 6.3 points per game.
Freshman forward Michale Kyser (6-9, 210) had seven blocked shots in the win over Northeastern and the team's leader is senior guard and former Ole Miss player Trevor Gaskins (6-2, 215).
Louisiana Tech has won five of its last six games with the last three – all wins - coming by three points or less.
"It is a team that I am sure is going to come in with high hopes and come in and get after our young basketball team," Anderson said. "We are looking forward to playing another game."
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