Brewer's Starting Streak Snapped

FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas sophomore guard Ronnie Brewer had started 31 consecutive games before Saturday's against Gardner-Webb.

Was Arkansas coach Stan Heath experimenting with a new lineup?

No way.

Brewer showed up "five minutes late for practice the other day," Heath said. "He's a team captain and I hold him to a higher standard. He gave a great reason why (he was late), but I don't accept a lot of reasons."

Brewer entered the game with 15:09 left in the first half and tallied 12 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal in 27 minutes of the 79-63 win in Bud Walton Arena.

There will be no lingering effects from his tardiness.

"He's a great kid," Heath said.

Heath's move made way for Dontell Jefferson to make his first start and the junior transfer point guard responded with 8 points, 3 assists and 3 steals with just 1 turnover in 22 minutes.

Freshman forward Charles Thomas also was a first-time starter, taking junior Rashard Sullivan's spot.

"He had a few jitters early on," Heath said. "But as the game went on, Charles became more effective, especially down low."

Thomas was a bit troubled early on because he was guarding Gardner-Webb hot-shot Brian Bender, largely on the perimeter.

Thomas finished with 8 points (4 of 7 from the floor) and had 5 rebounds.

"We got him the ball, and he really can convert," Heath said. "I thought he did a solid job for us.

"His teammates are getting more confident and comfortable with him."

For his part, Sullivan wasn't complaining.

"I was just trying to do my job – score when I can, rebound and play defense to the best of my ability when I was out there," he said. "Coach Heath considers me an energy guy, so it's a role I'm willing to accept and work at."

Sullivan made a big impact. He showed his continuing offensive improvement with a dandy hook shot from the right baseline early in the game and converted a fast-break Jefferson miss into a knee-swinging dunk for a 23-13 lead.

His 7 rebounds led the Hogs and he hit 3 of 4 field-goal attempts while scoring 6 points. He also had 2 steals, 1 assist, 1 block and 1 turnover.

Sound Familiar?

You've got to think Gardner-Webb track and field will soon be off and running.

And not just because the moniker there is Runnin' Bulldogs.

Last year the Boiling Springs, N.C., school hired Brian Baker, a Batesville native who was an All-America long distance runner for Arkansas, helping the Hogs to a pair of NCAA triple crowns.

A 1994 UA graduate, Baker was inducted into the Arkansas Track & Field Hall of Fame last year.

Tape Up

All that tape around the baskets and perimeter has been pulled from Bud Walton Arena as it has in the rest of Division I gyms around the country.

The tape was part of the exhibition season's experimental rules process and it marked the 3-point lines at 20 feet, 6 inches (rather than 19-9) and widened the lane by 18 inches on each side along with a restricted area two feet from the basket where defenders couldn't draw a charge.

The lines, especially the 3-point ones, seemed just fine with the Hogs, who shot 47.2 percent from the 3-point lines in their three Paradise Jam wins last week.

Last season Arkansas managed just 31.4 percent from 3-point range.

On Saturday, the Hogs hit 4 of 10 (40 percent) from behind the 3-point line.

Not So Fast, My Friend

Arkansas junior guard Eric Ferguson got a steal in the last few seconds, then sprinted for a layup that did not quite beat the buzzer.

Ferguson kept going with his momentum, through the tunnel and toward the Arkansas locker room, like you so often see NBA players do.

But Arkansas coaches retrieved Ferguson, bringing him back to the floor to shake Gardner-Webb hands.

Hard to blame him for being so excited. Ferguson again gave the Hogs a big boost, leading them with 16 points (6 of 8 from the floor, including 2 of 2 from the 3-point line). He also had 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 assists vs. just 1 turnover in 28 minutes.

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