Davis Moves To Top Of SEC Scoring Chart

FAYETTEVILLE -- Don't look now, but Jermareo Davidson, Alabama's new go-to guy, leads the Southeastern Conference in league scoring with 21.7 points per game.

The 6-foot-10 junior is coming off a 28-point game against Kentucky and was named the SEC Player of the Week for last week.

Arkansas guard Eric Ferguson remembers Davidson well.

"He's a great defender and rebounder," Ferguson said Monday. "He had a lot of scores against us last year and when Chuck Davis went down with a knee injury this year, he knew it was time to step up."

Hogs 7-foot sophomore Steven Hill will draw the defensive assignment on Davidson when Arkansas plays at Alabama on Wednesday night.

"He's real long and quick," Hill said. "We'll have to work hard against him and we'll have to rebound very well against Alabama."

Arkansas coach Stan Heath expressed confidence in Hill.

"Steven always guards the other team's best front-court player," Heath said. "He relishes that role. But he's got to defend without getting in foul trouble."

Brewer Second
For the first time this season, Arkansas junior guard Ronnie Brewer has slipped to second place in SEC scoring for all games.

Glen Davis of LSU, who roomed with Brewer during the USA Basketball trials last summer, leads the SEC at 18.0 points per game, followed by Brewer at 17.9.

Far from worrying about that, Brewer talked about team goals Monday.

"We've got to carry our momentum from Saturday on the road and play with the same pride we did here (in a 78-66 win over Vanderbilt)," Brewer said.

In that game, Brewer scored just nine points but had 11 rebounds, moving Alabama coach Mark Gottfried to say, "Brewer affects the game in so many ways."

Brewer said the Razorbacks want to contain Davidson and Tide combo guard Ronald Steele, and make the other Alabama players try to beat Arkansas.

"Steele might be the best point guard in the conference," Brewer said. "We'll try to throw some different looks at Davidson, like we did against Glen Davis. Steven will try to slow him down and we'll try to help on him."

Modica's View
Jonathon Modica, who led Arkansas with 19 points against Vanderbilt, said, "We've got to play with the same sense of urgency against Alabama. We have to play with the mentality of 'us against the world.'

"If we play together, finish plays and make our free throws, we should have a chance to win a lot of games."

Modica is tied for 10th in the SEC in scoring with 14.1 points per game.

More Zone
Now that Alabama is down to eight healthy scholarship players and playing more zone defense to conserve energy, look for Hogs freshman guard Sean McCurdy to come off the bench early as a potential zone-buster.

"We've factored Sean in as a 10-minutes-plus guy," Heath said. "He'll share time with Dontell Jefferson, depending on how the game is going. Sean pushes the tempo. Our team is getting more comfortable with him and we've got to let the leash go a little bit.

"But Dontell will start and be on Steele. Dontell's presence defensively is unbelievable. He's a long, rangy, tough son-of-a-gun. He's stronger than people realize. He hasn't shot much in the SEC, but I don't see anything wrong with that."

McCurdy, asked about being a crowd favorite at home, said modestly, "Naw, they cheer for everybody."

But he did say, "I'm getting more comfortable every game. I try to go in there and be a spark plug off the bench."

Against Alabama, McCurdy said, "We've got to just play our game and minimize our turnovers; just gotta go in there and win. I hear the students there are pretty rough, so I'll prepare myself for what they say."

Change Of Pace
Heath said the Razorbacks would do something different on this road trip, but wouldn't say what that is.

Perhaps he was referring to the fact that the Hogs plan to go see the basketball movie "Glory Road" tonight.

Back To Earth
Gottfried said when he started watching tapes of Arkansas, he "came back to reality real fast after our last couple of games. They're intimidating as a team, very good, very athletic.

"Darian Townes inside is terrific, Hill is big and good, Brewer is so versatile, Modica has been playing at Arkansas for what seems like about nine years and Ferguson is playing well."

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