UA to battle winless Prairie View

Arkansas (7-1) tries to win its third straight game Saturday at 12:35 p.m. when it hosts Prairie View (0-7), who has yet to win this season.

The next opponent on the University of Arkansas basketball schedule is certainly not the best one they will see this season.

The Razorbacks (7-1) face a winless Prairie View team Saturday afternoon in a 12:35 p.m. game at Bud Walton Arena.

The Panthers (0-7) have topped 50 points only twice in their seven games and their leading scorer is averaging just 7.5 points.

"They (the Razorbacks) should be motivated to play the game, not the team they are playing against," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "As I told you guys, stats, opponents' records - those things don't matter. You have to respect every one that comes out here. I know it appears it should be an easy situation, but you never know and why take a chance."

Having faced tons of adversity the past two years, Heath says his Razorbacks have to learn how to handle their newfound success as well.

"The hardest thing in life to handle - whether it is athletes or regular people - is handling failure and having success," Heath said. "We've had a little bit success, but not a lot and we have to make sure we are handling that and continue to work hard and get better."

Having lost to a Western Carolina team that it shouldn't have last season is a memory still in Razorback sophomore guard Ronnie Brewer's mind.

"Every non-conference game that we face, we take every opponent as if they were a top SEC team," Brewer said. "We don't want to have any letdowns. We took it off last year against Western Carolina and they came in here and snuck up on us and then didn't have a good season. This team hasn't been doing real well, but we have to go out and play Arkansas basketball."

The Razorbacks are coming off a 96-68 dismantling of Tennessee State on Thursday night in the first of seven straight home games - six of which are non-conference ones that are scheduled between Dec. 16-31.

"It is a quick turnaround for us and we have got to get ready to play," Heath said. "The big thing we are looking for out of our team are two things - to play with intensity and play unselfish. If we do those things, we will play good basketball and have success."

Marcus Monk and Mike Jones were among two guys who had good practices according to Heath, who always closes the workout on a day before a game.

They also worked hard to get Steven Hill more involved offensively like fellow big man Darian Townes, who tossed in 20 points on Thursday.

"We had a good practice today," Heath said. "I thought the guys were energetic and we got a lot of things accomplished. We got a chance to give a lot of guys - who don't get as many minutes as maybe some of the other guys a lot - a lot of reps and a lot of opportunities to make sure they were in sync in the offense and with our defense."

Arkansas is likely to start the same five of Brewer (15.9), Eric Ferguson (11.9), Olu Famutimi (10.3), Charles Thomas (9.6) and Hill (2.8) and will bring in a wave of reserves as they did Thursday night.

"We did a lot of things well, especially in the second half," Heath said of the win over Tennessee State that came after a nine-day break for finals. "We weren't that active with our hands and feet in the first half and maybe that is why we didn't force as many turnovers...But we were far more active in the second half."

The Panthers will have a familiar face on their bench in assistant coach Darrell Hawkins, a former Razorback hoops standout.

Heath, who has sported the shaved head look since he got to Fayetteville, celebrated his 40th birthday on Friday and his team sung to him at the end of practice.

"I got my exercise in this morning," Heath said. "I still was able to make the 20-minute run. Well, I don't have to worry about losing any hair."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories