Sharp Start

Arkansas (15-7, 3-6) hopes to keep momentum going tonight when it hosts Georgia (7-12, 1-8) tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

The ABC television broadcast of the Arkansas-Georgia game will be delayed one hour tonight in central Arkansas to accommodate a new episode of the hit series "Lost."

The Razorbacks still have to show up on time and coach Stan Heath said his team better make sure it does against the Southeastern Conference doormat Bulldogs, who have only seven scholarship players and one win in nine league games.

It's Sweeps Week in the television ratings and after knocking off Ole Miss on Saturday, Arkansas could use a sweep of its own this week with Georgia and LSU in Bud Walton Arena tonight and Saturday.

"It's real important for our team to not get caught up in records or anything like that," Heath said. "This is a team if you don't show up, they definitely can step up and sting you."

Arkansas (15-7, 3-6 SEC) is coming off its biggest win of the season Saturday at Ole Miss and can ill-afford a hiccup at 7:05 tonight against the hard-fighting Bulldogs (7-12, 1-8).

Like a rookie surfer taking on monster waves, Arkansas was sucked into the undertow and had its brains bashed against the rocks in the first half of SEC play.

The Razorbacks' confidence was shaken by losses to LSU, Alabama and Kentucky by a combined seven points and blowout losses on the road to Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Arkansas' head was under water again Saturday after building a 55-44 lead and watching it melt away with backcourt turnovers and defensive breakdowns to allow Ole Miss to take a 62-59 lead with 1:50 to play.

This time though, the Razorbacks righted themselves just in time.

They got a series of clutch plays from previously struggling juniors Dontell Jefferson and Jonathon  Modica in the closing moments to pull out the 66-65 win and snap the Razorbacks' 13-game SEC road losing streak.

"It gives us a lot of confidence," said sophomore Ronnie Brewer. "We won on the road. We fought throughout the game. We just continue to get better as a team. We have to feed off this win and try to do well at home."

Pressure by junior Eric  Ferguson led Brandon Patterson to throw the ball over Londrick Nolen's head and out of bounds to set up Modica's basket to make it 65-64, Arkansas, with 39 seconds left.

"We definitely want to ride the momentum from Saturday's game into our game against Georgia," Heath said. "I thought our players showed a lot of character, a lot of toughness, especially down the stretch.

"That was a great sign for us and something we needed to do to pull a game out even coming from behind."

Heath said he will start the same lineup of center Darian Townes, Modica and Olu Famutimi at forward and Brewer and Ferguson in the backcourt.

The smaller lineup worked well against Ole Miss and on paper looks like the right group against Georgia and its three-guard lineup.

Ball movement was crisper and Modica was a constant feeder of Townes in the post for a career-high seven assists to help Townes get to within one of his career-high in points with 19 against Ole Miss.

"They're very big, they do a lot of good things offensively that will challenge our defense in every way," said second-year Georgia coach Dennis Felton. "I hear Fayetteville is a very fun place to play because of the passion and atmosphere their fans bring to the game.

"I'm looking forward to my first trip there."

The Bulldogs start three freshmen and two sophomores. Guards Levi Stukes (15.4 points per game), Sundiata Gaines (11.9 ppg) and Channing Toney (10.2) lead Georgia in scoring.

Sophomore 6-foot-8 forward Steve Newman (8.4 ppg, 4.1 rebounds per game) and 6-10 freshman center Dave Bliss (6.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) man the frontcourt.

Heath said Georgia's post players can "bang you pretty good", but he feels his team has better speed and quickness in the post and it's important for Arkansas to create an uptempo game to wear down the short bench of the Bulldogs.

"We want to play at our tempo, at our speed and we want to dictate the pace of the game," Heath said.

Famutimi's hip injury with 10:20 to play meant more minutes for Jefferson, who made a layup to make it 64-63, Ole Miss, and grabbed the last rebound and hit the game-winning free throw with 2.2 seconds left.

Jefferson said after the game he felt he was out of his slump and Heath said his confidence in Jefferson was directly proportional to Jefferson's confidence in himself.

Famutimi is expected to have no ill-effects from the hip injury tonight, but Jefferson could see his role continue to expand if he can maintain his consistency and take some of the ball-handling duties away from Ferguson and Brewer.

"I'd love to get him more minutes and rest Ronnie and Eric more than I'm doing," Heath said. "That would allow them to be stronger down the stretch."

With four home games remaining and road games at Alabama, Vanderbilt and Auburn, the Razorbacks are in position to control their postseason destiny, a task that would have been much tougher had they lost in Oxford.

"We could definitely get ourselves back in a position where postseason is a viable option for us or an opportunity," Heath said. "More importantly, we can't look past the Georgia game. Being at home is special for us. We have to protect home.

"We can't allow anyone to come in here and out-play us."

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