Heath Still Bummed By 'Bama Loss

AUBURN, Ala. -- Even after his team beat Auburn 68-52 to end -- at least for now -- its Southeastern Conference road woes, Arkansas' overtime loss to Alabama earlier in the week still stung Razorbacks coach Stan Heath.

For 40 minutes of basketball, though, Heath -- and by extension his players -- used the floor in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum to heal.

"It's still bothering me right now," Heath said of the Razorbacks' 78-75 overtime loss to the Crimson Tide in a game Arkansas led by 13 at one point in the second half. "It's just one of those games that it's just hard to get out of your minds. I wouldn't be telling you the truth if I didn't say it still bugs me.

"I'll probably get in the bus and I'll be kicking myself, 'If we'd got that one, we'd be 3-2' or whatever."

Heath had shied away from the "must-win" label a week ago when the Razorbacks were 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference and playing a then-hot Vanderbilt team.

There was no shying away this time.

"We were kind of backs against the wall in trying to get a win," Heath said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. I thought we showed a lot of toughness and a lot of character, especially in the second half. The game was still very close and I thought we made a nice push."

Now, the Razorbacks will look to continue that momentum Wednesday in Bud Walton Arena against Ole Miss, a team that was streaking before being cooled down by Georgia on Saturday in a 72-65 loss.

Against Auburn, the Razorbacks -- especially preseason SEC player of the year Ronnie Brewer -- were more aggressive, driving toward the basket and drawing 23 fouls, which led to 25 free throws. Arkansas hit 21 of them.

"The biggest difference was our ability on the road to really knock down those free throws and be able to get fouled," Heath said.

Brewer put up the big numbers, but for the most part Brewer's been doing that all season.

Jonathon Modica, who had just six points and played a season-low 20 minutes in the loss to Alabama, bounced back nicely, playing a season-high 36 minutes and scoring 17 points and hitting all four of his free throws.

Charles Thomas turned in just the second double-double of the season for the Razorbacks, scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

Brewer, the leading scorer in the SEC, scored a career-high 26 points -- 11 on a career-high 14 free throws.

A week ago, Heath was saying that he envisioned starting point guard Dontell Jefferson splitting time with freshman backup Sean McCurdy, if not on a 20-minutes each split then at least where McCurdy would play 10 minutes per game.

Saturday, McCurdy saw the floor for less than a minute, turning the ball over once in his short time on the court.

Jefferson had seven assists, five rebounds and five steals against Auburn.


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