Win Against Ole Miss Brings More Confidence

FAYETTEVILLE -- There's a lot of ways to analyze exactly what happened in Bud Walton on Wednesday night, but only one really matters.

Of course, the bottom line is Arkansas manhandled Ole Miss 71-58 in front of 18,121 fans in a classic Southeastern Conference confrontation.

"Anytime Arkansas and Ole Miss get together, you know it's going to be a little bit of a war," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "They were going to come after us, and we were going to come after them.

"That was a big win for us."

That win enabled the Razorbacks (14-5 overall, 3-3 in the SEC) to keep a confidence which continues to grow with each passing victory.

Arkansas now has to hitch up its britches and show it can sustain its well-earned swagger the reason of the season. And some Razorbacks players don't seem to mind that assignment.

"I think people think we are very talented but haven't gotten over the hump, but I think we have now," said senior Jonathon Modica. "I think we showed that tonight."

Ya think?

Arkansas applied a pressure defense -- pressure, the kind that can burst pipes -- against the Rebels, who couldn't find answers to the problem all night.

"They changed defenses and that affected us," said Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes. "Arkansas played well on defense. Their zone really got to us. They're long. They're really good. They're are athletic, quick and anticipate well.

"They pushed us out and made it hard to get the ball inside."

Meanwhile the Razorbacks blocked 10 shots -- sophomore Steven Hill had five by himself -- and got 39 points out of guards Ronnie Brewer and Modica. Modica led all Arkansas scorers with 20 points, and Brewer had 19.

Other incidentals included Arkansas scoring 44 points in the paint compared to 32 for the Rebels, scoring 10 fast-break points to 2, and shooting 54 percent from the floor compared to 40 percent.

"We played a solid 40 minutes," Brewer said. "We need to do more of that from now on. We need to be more aggressive and continue to play tough, hard-nose defense. "I think we can carry it on the road."

And the road is exactly where the Razorbacks are headed.

During the Heath era, the Razorbacks are only 3-24 in SEC venues away from Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas plays Kentucky in famed Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday in front of the CBS eye.

Should the Hogs be in awe? Doesn't sound like it.

"I didn't even know the name of the arena," Modica said. "I just want to win at Kentucky. I know they have a great fan base there. I know they have a great program.

"I'd just like to win there, especially on national television."

Getting past Ole Miss at home was the first objective Wednesday night. It provided Arkansas with an opportunity to get back into the SEC race after an 0-2 start.

"You've got to give credit to Ole Miss," said Arkansas sophomore forward Darian Townes. "They're strong and they're tough and they get after it.

"Now we're back in the race. We have a tough match on Sunday against Kentucky. They are going to be tough and they are going to be ready for us.

"We're got our minds right. Now we can go forth from there. We have to have a chip on our shoulders and get going up there.

"We get to show the world how good a team we are." Arkansas showed it was pretty good Wednesday night even if it was in front of thousands instead of maybe millions.

"I really liked the way our team played," Heath said. "We are working to get better and attack different zones.

"We're excited to go to Lexington on Sunday afternoon."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories