Heath More Vocal On Sideline

FAYETTEVILLE -- Early in the first half, it became clear that something was different about Arkansas coach Stan Heath. He was more animated than usual, screaming more than stomping, in an effort to increase his team's intensity.

By no means was Heath stoic before. He always has been vocal, but just not as much or as loud as in Saturday's 73-59 win against South Carolina in Bud Walton Arena.

A perfect example came midway through the first quarter after Darian Townes rebounded a missed free throw only to have it knocked out of bounds. "Squeeze it!" Heath shouted. He continued chastising Townes for a few seconds and, as a calm fell over the crowd during the dead ball, could even be heard by fans in the upper deck.

"It was a big game," Heath said. "If guys need to be corrected, then I've got to find different ways to correct them."

Hogs junior Ronnie Brewer said the team is used to Heath getting on them in practice, but not as much in games as he did Saturday.

"He's like that in practice when somebody messes up," Brewer said. "We need that from him as a coach. Whenever things aren't going right, maybe we don't get a call or whatever, I think (being more vocal) is his job and I think he's trying to do that to become a better head coach.

"And I do think it brought up our team a little bit more."

This came in the wake of a local television report featuring Heath's sideline demeanor, or lack there of, this week. Fans on message boards also have been questioning whether Heath was enthusiastic enough on the sideline.

Heath said he didn't make a conscious effort to be more vocal. He's just fed up with players repeatedly making the same mistakes such as Townes' inability to secure the ball after rebounding the missed free throw.

"I'm tired of the free throw situation where we're supposed to be getting those rebounds," Heath said. "It's unacceptable. Those free throw blockouts aren't something we're going to take lightly."

Later in the game, Heath and Townes exchange words on the bench. He didn't start the second half and stayed on the bench until there was 7 minutes, 21 second remaining in regulation.

Heath said the verbal exchange had nothing to do with Townes playing a season-low 11 minutes.

"I just felt like he wasn't getting it done," Heath said. "You know how kids will tell you that this happened or that happened. But there is no excuse."



For Starters

Razorbacks point guard Dontell Jefferson did not start for the first time this season after committing five turnovers in a 76-74 loss at Kentucky. But off the bench Saturday, the senior clearly wanted to keep the ball in his possession.

Dribbling near the top of the key, Jefferson had the ball stripped by South Carolina's Antoine Tisby with 6:30 remaining in the first half. But instead of simply giving up on the play, Jefferson made a desperate dive to knock the ball into teammate Jonathon Modica's hand.

It saved Jefferson from committing his first turnover of the game.

"I was trying my best to make sure I took care of the ball," said Jefferson, who had no turnovers and four assists in 22 minutes. "Coach is just trying to make sure I don't throw the ball away and make better decisions."

Eric  Ferguson started for Jefferson at point guard while Townes, a 12-game starter who had two rebounds in the past two games, was replaced in the starting lineup by Vincent Hunter.



Boo Birds

South Carolina's Tre' Kelley was singled out early by taunting fans. Each time he touched the ball, loud boos rang down from the student section.

Kelley gained the attention after knocking Brewer to the floor with a hard foul as Brewer attempted what appeared to be a breakaway dunk with 7:12 remaining in the first half. Brewer was shaken up on the play, but drained both free throws to give Arkansas a 27-15 lead.

Brewer said it was nice to hear the fans had his back.

"We thought it was an intentional foul, but he came and asked me how I was, so it was all good," Brewer said. "It was good to hear our fans booing him the whole time, though. It shows us that our fans appreciate our play."



Switching Sidelines

Former Auburn coach Cliff Ellis worked Saturday's game as a color analyst with Jefferson Pilot Sports while Dave Baker called the play-by-play. Ellis left the Tigers' program in 2004 after he didn't see eye-to-eye with administration.

"I'm enjoying it," Ellis said. "But I do miss coaching after doing it for 36 years."

Asked if he would ever return to the other side of the sidelines as a coach, Ellis said, "Only in the right situation."

Ellis has been with Jefferson Pilot this entire season after calling games for both Jefferson Pilot and Fox Sports last season.


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