It was just two weeks ago when Arkansas freshman point guard Anton Beard stepped to the free throw line at Tennessee with three free throws to tie the game.
He came up empty on all three, but has not let that get him down and will get a chance at redemption Tuesday night when the No. 25 Razorbacks (15-4, 4-2) host the Volunteers (12-6, 4-2) in another edition of Late Night at Bud Walton Arena.
The game between two of the five teams tied for second in the SEC will be televised by ESPNU and tip off at 8 p.m.
“It stuck with me for a minute until the next day, but then its over with,” Beard said. “It just happens and it is in the past now. It is just a mindset. I have been through worse (things) than that. It is just a mindset that you got to have.”
Ironically, it was pair of missed free throws with three seconds left by Missouri’s Wes Clark that allowed Arkansas to leave Columbia with a 61-60 road victory on Saturday afternoon.
“It is amazing how the tables turned,” Beard said. “It wasn’t a good feeling to me, but it was good that we won. I feel for him.”
Beard noted that there is pride on the lone and that his team can’t play passive as it did early in Knoxville.
“Yes, there is a little pride (factor) because they beat us at our own game,” Beard said. “They caught us slipping, but we are going to come back hard tomorrow.
“We felt like we weren’t really in attack mode during that game,” Beard added. “We felt like at the end we were really in attack mode - the second half when we made that comeback. But we have got to be in attack mode the whole game this game.”
Beard was asked if he thought he might getting the starting call in this game.
“Possibly, but I am not really focused on starting or coming off the bench,” Beard said. “I am just coming out there and playing hard and helping my team.”
Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall expects a great effort from Arkansas on Tuesday night, especially since his Vols won the first match up this season 74-69.
“Obviously they are playing very well and we won in a close hard-fought game at our gym,” Tyndall said. “I’m sure like any team they will want to bounce back and play better against us this time around.
“I remember being in Arkansas’ place when I was an assistant at LSU and I know how good those fans are and how loud it gets,” Tyndall added. “It should be a heck of an environment.”
Razorback head coach Mike Anderson expects a tough challenge from the Vols, who come into the game off a 67-61 home loss to Texas A&M.
“Well, we get to play one of the hotter teams in our league,” Anderson said. “They took a tough loss, I guess A&M got them at home. But they've been playing awfully good basketball. Donnie Tyndall has done an outstanding job.
“Just played them less than two weeks ago so it's two teams familiar with one another,” Anderson added. “End of that game, some of the things that really kind of stood out were the turnovers we had. We had 18 turnovers that led to 27 points for them. Which were live-ball turnovers, which was very rare for us. I thought that had a big impact on the game.
“They (also) got to the free throw line,” Anderson continued. “It was 26-14. So when you look at that you think 'man.' They beat us on the boards maybe one or two. They shot over 50 percent form the field.
“You'd think we didn't have a chance and yet we had three free throws to tie the game right at the end," Anderson said. "Just seemed like they controlled the game.”
After Tennessee got up 16 in the second half, Arkansas mounted a challenge that turned out to be too little too late.
“Seemed like within a window of three to four minutes, the tempo went to our liking,” Anderson said. “So that means they controlled the tempo for the most part of the game….Hopefully we'll play a lot better.”
Tennessee has certainly surprised some people in the SEC by winning four of its six league games and also knocking off Butler and Kansas State.
Josh Richardson, a 6-6 senior guard averaging 15.5 points, has headed up a youthful squad.
“I think the biggest thing when you look at our team is we only have nine scholarship players, we don’t have a true post player - we have one that is about 6-10 and 175 and the other is about 6-8, 205 and they are true freshman," Tyndall said.
“They are going to be good in time, but right now they are like a lot of true freshman in this league, they are trying to find their way,” Tyndall added.
“And we don’t have a true point guard and although Josh Richardson is an exceptional player, he is not a true point guard,” Tyndall added. “So we have had to do all the little things and by that I mean taking charges, diving on the floor, trying to be grittier and tougher than the opponent.
“That has not always happened, but that is certainly the goal every night,” Tyndall continued. “Our margin of error is very, very small and if we don’t play with a sense of urgency and we are not on razor’s edge every single night, we can’t beat anybody.”
Tyndall thought that was missing in the last game.
“I thought the other night against Texas A&M, they deserve all the credit, but I don’t think our team was at a Razor’s edge for whatever reason so we have got to hopefully get that back to who we have been for most of the season.”
It’s no secret that Arkansas has been very good offensively, but subpar defensively.
“It's not been consistent,” Anderson said of his defense. “I think that's the key. There are games we try to outscore people. We all know in this league here you can't do that. There are going to be nights you don't shoot the ball well.
“I want our defense to be the constant, what we hang our hats on,” Anderson said. “Hopefully we'll get a chance to see us improve even more. In the Missouri game, we held them, I guess they made 60 points. They normally score 68 points. That means it's another step in the right direction.”
Bobby Portis blocks a shot in the earlier match up between the two teams.
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