Razorbacks Ready For Hartford

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas will go for its 10th win Thursday against Hartford, a team coming off a 71-59 home loss to Albany on Saturday.

The Hawks (2-4) are coached by Larry Harrison, a former Cincinnati assistant with a 48-76 record in his sixth year at Hartford.

Arkansas coach Stan Heath is familiar with Harrison and the style he likes to run similar to the pressing formula Cincinnati has used so well, but the Hawks haven't found success with it this year.

"They're a team that's had its ups and downs," Heath said. "They're a better team than their record. I don't think they've played to the level they can play at.

"I have a feel for what they do. It's important for us to dictate tempo."

Hartford has four players averaging double figures led by 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior forward Trevor Goode and 6-2 junior guard Aaron Cook, who are each scoring 11.5 per game.

Freshman guard David Ruffin (6-4, 185) is scoring 10.7 per game and junior guard Charles Ford (5-11, 185) is averaging 10.5.

Hartford is shooting 45.9 percent from the field but is allowing its opponents to shoot 46.9.

The Hawks are averaging 7.6 steals per game and forcing 16.6 turnovers.

Heath was pleasantly surprised Monday at how quickly his team took control of the pace of the game against a patient Lipscomb team that got off to a 14-10 lead seven minutes into the game.

Arkansas seized the tempo with its defense and went on a 38-10 run to close the half and win going away, 83-54.

Heath had to talk himself into believing his team would play the way it did after some doubts early Monday.

"I was really concerned about the game," Heath said Monday night. "I thought we might have a letdown. It's hard to stay focused. We haven't had much rest, we're playing our third game in five days, and yet I talked to myself and said, 'This is a different group of guys. They have a different mindset.'

"I've got to have confidence in them. I'm getting there."

Arkansas will be off Friday and Saturday for Christmas with a late practice Sunday to prepare for Jacksonville State on Dec. 28.

Heath has tried some creative methods to motivate 6-7 freshman forward Charles Thomas to grab more rebounds.

Thomas had just one rebound against Prairie View A&M on a day when Arkansas grabbed 59 boards against the winless Panthers.

Lipscomb snared seven of the first 10 rebounds Monday night, leading Heath to sub junior Rashard Sullivan for Thomas less than three minutes into the game.

Thomas is averaging 3.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per game but is athletic and active enough to do more.

"We hung up a picture in the locker room having some fun," Heath said. "We had a wanted poster, 'looking for a guy who can get some rebounds' and we put a picture of Charles in there."

Sullivan played just seven minutes against Lipscomb after turning his right ankle in the first half.

He had it wrapped tightly at Tuesday's practice and said he can play through any discomfort it may cause.

"It hurts, but you have to play through it some times," he said. "Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett, everyone plays through pain. I'm going to be able to play in the next game."

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