Hogs Put Loss To Bulldogs Behind Them

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath changed his team's routine a bit following Saturday's 69-67 loss at Mississippi State.

The Razorbacks, who are normally off on Sunday, went to Bud Walton Arena this time and watched Saturday's entire game film, then shot 100 free throws each.

Then on Monday, when practice is generally open to the media, the doors to the court were closed.

On the heels of a 10-of-21 free throw shooting nightmare against Mississippi State, the Hogs shot free throws both before and after practice.

During the post-practice session, when players sometimes joke around during their teammates' free throws, Heath called out sternly to them, "Hey, no talking!"

Later, Heath described the team's mood as "very serious, anxious to play better, very competitive in practice."

Darian Townes, who went scoreless against the Bulldogs, had already assessed what he did wrong.

"I was just too excited coming into SEC play and didn't play the game I was supposed to," Townes said. "I rushed my shots. Today I went back to my original way of slowing down for my shots."

Both Townes and 7-foot center Steven Hill said Arkansas (11-3, 0-1 SEC) had put the Mississippi State loss behind them.

"We came out and practiced real hard today," Townes said. "We should be real fired up Wednesday for LSU."

Hill recalled that LSU center Glen Davis "pretty much torched us last year," but Hill said, "If we play better defense and stick to our game plan, we should be all right."

Jonathon Modica, who scored 20 points against the Bulldogs but none in the final 15 minutes, said, "We've got to keep our heads up and stay together. I've forgotten about Mississippi State and I'm ready to win a game at home."

Ronnie Brewer, the SEC's leading scorer with 18.7 points per game, echoed Modica.

"We've gotta perform well Wednesday," Brewer said. "If we do, I think it will get us on track. It's a new day and we can't harp on the last game."

Hill To Start
Heath said Hill would return to the starting lineup Wednesday and match up against Davis, who averages 18.0 points and 9.6 rebounds.

Either Townes or Charles Thomas will start alongside Hill.

"Darian is a rhythm guy, and he never got into a rhythm against Mississippi State," Heath said. "We disrupted that by starting him. We need Darian, and that wasn't a typical game for him. He's a target for foul trouble, so he's gotta play defense without fouling."

Wesley Morgan, the Bulldogs' 7-foot-2 center, blocked Townes' first shot, and then Morgan and Charles Rhodes got Townes into foul trouble.

"I can't say that (blocked shot) messed my whole game up, but it did kinda bother me," Townes said.

Tigers Rule Glass
LSU (8-5, 0-0 SEC) leads the SEC in rebounding with 45.2 boards per game to its opponents' 29.9.

"They've been phenomenal rebounding the basketball," Heath said. "LSU is probably in the top two in the SEC in terms of talent. Tyrus Thomas, their 6-9 freshman, has taken the league by storm. He plays way above the rim. His lift and explosiveness are off the charts."

Thomas (SEC-leading 9.8 rebounds per game) had 13 rebounds in LSU's 67-66 loss to Connecticut on Saturday.

Tasmin Mitchell, another LSU freshman, grabs 6.0 rebounds per game.

Technical Issues
Heath seemed surprised when Arkansas' bench received a technical foul with the score tied 44-44 against Mississippi State with 12:52 left.

"It's almost like I was being looked at hard to get one," Heath said Saturday night.

Heath had reacted to a foul called against Brewer, but not as vigorously as UA assistant Ronny Thompson had behind him.

Game official Pat Adams told Heath he called the technical against Thompson.

When Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury reacted similarly to a call later in the game, he wasn't assessed a technical.

At one point in the second half, Arkansas had been whistled for seven fouls to MSU's two.

Such is life on the road.

Heath knows all about Arkansas' woeful road stats during his tenure, but he said, "In fairness, we've lost one road game this season. We have a lot left. I think there are quite a few road games we're going to win. In a league race it's real important to protect your home (court) and go .500 on the road."

Elusive Goal
Stansbury said Arkansas scored just once in six possessions when the Bulldogs played man-to-man defense.

Heath explained, "We settled for good shots when we could have gotten better ones."

Against MSU's mostly zone defense, Brewer made just 1-of-7 from 3-point range.

"Teams would rather Ronnie take the outside shot (than drive)," Heath said. "But early in the season he was hitting 40 percent from behind the arc."

Hogs assistant Dan Hipsher said, "We defended pretty well, but you've gotta make a few shots. When you're missing your free throws and jump shots, there are so many transition opportunities for the other team. We've just to to be man enough to play better. The basket is still 10 feet high."

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