Eddins Enjoys Calling Game

FAYETTEVILLE -- Former Razorbacks basketball player Blake Eddins tried his hand at color commentating for the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network during Saturday's 102-50 win against Prairie View A&M in Bud Walton Arena.

"It's a lot tougher than it looks," said Eddins, who played at Arkansas from 2000-03. "You see these guys on TV and you may say something like, ‘Ah, anybody can do that,' but it's a lot tougher than you think."

Admittedly, Eddins was nervous once the lights of the camera came on, but credited ARSN announcer Paul Eells with easing his transition from player to commentator.

"I wasn't nervous until we did our first live shot and I kind of goofed that and then I kind of goofed the keys to the game, but working with Paul makes it a lot easier," Eddins said. "I didn't do so hot starting off, but Paul is such a constant professional, he kind of calms you down and gets everything running right."

Eddins was filling in for Jimmy Dykes, another former UA letterman (1982-84), and Eells said the rookie was a solid replacement. Eddins will be the color man for the next three ARSN broadcasts as well.

"He did terrific and was relaxed and we just let the flow of the game take care of itself," Eells said. "Blake made so many great comments because he knows the game of basketball so it was really a pleasure working with him.

"I don't think I made too many mistakes. But I'm sure I'll get some phone calls from some of my friends messing with me about something.

"But I had a great time."

Enough For Alumni Team

Besides Eddins and Prairie View A&M assistant Darrell Hawkins, there were at least four more former Razorbacks players at Saturday's game.

They were Pat Bradley (1996-99), Ron Huery (1987-91), Clyde Fletcher (1991-92) and Larry Satchell (2000-03).

Modica Moving On

Arkansas junior Jonathan Modica appears to have snapped his recent skid with is second solid performance in a row.

Modica hit first shot for second game in a row, a 3-pointer from the baseline. He then got a steal and it led to a powerful one-handed dunk which gave Arkansas a 26-7 lead with 11 minutes, 37 seconds left in the first half.

"I was happy to see some jump shots fall," said Modica, who was 4 of 9 from the floor. "It felt good leaving my hand and that's what I've been missing.

"It's time to bring it now."

The junior from Smackover scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers, and had 8 rebounds in 19 minutes. The points were the most since he scored 14 against Eastern Michigan in the finals of the Paradise Jam last month and the rebounds were a season high.

For Charity

The Razorbacks shot 81.5 percent (22 of 27) from the free-throw line, the best this season.

"Eighty-one percent from the free throw line is terrific," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "Overall, we shot with a lot of confidence. It showed our team's focus."

The previous best was 80 percent (20 of 25) in an 89-54 win against Troy in the Paradise Jam last month.

Jones(ing) For Action

Michael Jones, the Hogs' lone senior, came in with 10:54 left in the first half which was the earliest he's came off the bench this season.

Jones entered Saturday averaging just 2.9 minutes per game, but had 8 points and 4 rebounds while playing a season-high 18 minutes.

Can He Dunk?

Eric Ferguson, who started his second consecutive game, got a steal and a layup which made the crowd kind of sigh as if they thought he should have tried to dunk it during the first half.

Heath insists that Ferguson, who's generously listed a 6-foot-1, can dunk. He just wanted to make sure of the bucket with his team leading 41-17 and 4:41 remaining in the first half.

"Yeah, he can dunk," Heath said. "You know what though, I get on those guys and I tell them, ‘Let's make sure you get the two (points) so if you're off balanced or you're not comfortable, get the two.

"Guys that hang on the rim and the ball pops out to half court, that doesn't turn me on at all."

Monk Mania

When he jumped off the bench to come into the game, freshman Marcus Monk received a warm welcome from the crowd of 11,648.

Monk, who led Southeastern Conference freshmen in receiving this season, promptly forced a turnover when he used his rangy arms to deflect an inbounds pass back into Prairie View's Phillip Scott, who couldn't get back in bounds before the ball hit him on the left ankle.

After struggling to catch his wind while playing seven minutes in his debut Thursday against Tennessee State, Monk said his conditioning is improving. He played 19 minutes Saturday and contributed 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 points to the win.

"I'm not completely out of basketball shape, but it's coming along," Monk said. "I felt better during the game and I feel better right now then I did after Thursday's game."

Trough Talk

With more than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Arkansas' student section began chanting "double digits' since Arkansas led 28-7 at the time.

On the Panthers' ensuing possession, Scott converted a traditional 3-pointer to make it 28-10.

Making An Entrance

Shortly into the second half, Little Rock Central's basketball team made a grand entrance with players wearing all black warmups. The Tigers played at Fayetteville High on Saturday night.

Santa Hogs

Arkansas' mascots were into the Christmas spirit Saturday, sporting Santa Claus garb.

They might want to ask the real one for new outfits for next year, though, as they were pretty well faded.

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