Ua Basketball Report

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas freshman guard Sean McCurdy said Wednesday his 57-foot, buzzer-beating shot against Texas Tech last week almost didn't happen.

"I was going to let the clock milk out, but I heard Ronnie (Brewer) say, 'Shoot it!'" McCurdy said. "I looked up at the clock, saw 2.8 seconds, took a couple of dribbles and let it go."

McCurdy's shot gave Arkansas (9-2) a 39-36 halftime lead, en route to a 78-65 win over the Red Raiders.

"It was real inspiring in the locker room at halftime," McCurdy said. "I didn't expect it that much. It was a lucky shot, but it felt good. I had never made a shot like that when it mattered."

McCurdy was surprised again to see the voice mail on his cell phone filled up after the game.

"I answered some, and it filled up again," he said. "I got a lot of text messages. I was just happy to contribute to the team."

McCurdy said Brewer tried a similar long shot at the end of Tuesday's scrimmage, but the ball hit the backboard and missed.

"It hit the rim, too," Brewer claimed.

Hogs coach Stan Heath said he hoped to get more minutes for both McCurdy and fellow freshman Cyrus McGowan in upcoming home games against Texas-Pan American on Friday and Western Illinois on Sunday.

"Sean can help us with his shooting and Cyrus with his rebounding, and both can do other things," Heath said. "I'm just glad our freshmen can be our fifth, sixth or seventh options and not our first or second."

McCurdy is not one to complain about playing time.

"I trust coach Heath on all the decisions he makes," McCurdy said. "I trust him 100 percent."

Besides adjusting to the college game, McCurdy, of Westport, Conn., has also learned some new Southern expressions.

"I had no idea what 'fixing' to do something meant," he said. "Now I know, but I don't say that. I say, 'y'all,' though."



JEFFERSON FEELS FINE

Arkansas senior guard Dontell Jefferson said his legs felt a little stiff when the Razorbacks practiced Monday after a four-day layoff, but he said they felt fine by Wednesday.

"We've worked pretty hard this week," he said. "Over Christmas, we all just tried to eat right and take care of ourselves."

Jefferson went home to Lithonia, Ga., where he said his best Christmas present was "just being with my mother and my little sister."



BREWER EXPECTS CONTACT

When Texas Tech started Alan Voscuil for just the second time this season last week against Arkansas, Brewer could guess what was coming.

"He was trying to grab me and pull me," Brewer said. "A lot of teams try to do different things. (Tuesday) night, Memphis tried to get into (Gonzaga star) Adam Morrison's head."

Morrison responded with 34 points in the first 31 minutes, before Memphis shut him down the rest of the way and won going away.

Brewer scored a season-low 12 points against Tech, but blamed himself for some of that.

"I missed a couple of layups and a couple of free throws," Brewer said.

Against Tech, Brewer was 4 of 11 from the field and 4 of 7 from the free throw line.

"Texas Tech was helping and playing over the top on defense, but I needed to knock down the easy shots," Brewer said. "I've been working on my shot during the time off."

Heath has talked with Brewer about all the defensive attention he's receiving from other teams.

"Ronnie has an unselfish nature," Heath said. "But we need him to still be aggressive (on offense). You can't let the other team take you away."

Both Brewer and Heath also said the Razorbacks need to improve their rebounding.

"We need a big jump there," Heath said. "Our team should be a plus-five rebounding team."

So far, Arkansas has averaged 34.1 boards per game to its opponents' 33.5.



HEATH PLEASED

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said Arkansas bent at times but did not break against the Red Raiders -- the sign of a good team.

Heath seemed to agree.

"I thought we played well offensively and defensively," Heath said Wednesday. "It looked like we might be shaken, but we weren't. Remember, Texas Tech was a Top 15 team coming into the season, with three starters returning.

"That was a big win for us. It gave us confidence that we can go on the road, take somebody's best shot and beat them."

Though the game was played in Dallas, McCurdy said, "It felt like we had a bunch of fans. Everyone was calling the Hogs."



TECH-UA SERIES TIED

Going into the Arkansas-Texas Tech game, Arkansas listed a 38-37 series advantage, while Tech's pregame information claimed a 39-36 Raiders edge. The Texas Tech media guide had it 38-37, Tech.

The Tech media guide was right. In Arkansas' media guide, an early UA loss in the series was inadvertently listed as a win, next to the correct score.

So now the series is tied 38-38, and the tie will be broken next season when the teams play in Alltel Arena at North Little Rock.




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