"I feel very empty inside right now," Modica said Wednesday night. "But the sun will shine again."
But that might take some time. Arkansas' players didn't speak on the flight back to Fayetteville, and it was apparent even a day later that the disappointment following a 78-77 loss at LSU had not yet worn off.
"If we didn't know the definition of adversity before, I'm sure we know it now," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said Thursday afternoon. "(The loss) was tough to swallow."
By now, the Razorbacks should be familiar with the pain that comes with losing a close game on the road, as well as the short-term memory needed to move on to the next game.
Over the last month, the team has squandered double-digit leads at Alabama and Kentucky and missed a chance to steal a game at Mississippi State. But Wednesday's loss at LSU was different, which explains why Arkansas' players seem to be taking it harder than usual.
Instead of blowing a big lead, the Razorbacks rallied from a 14-point deficit in the final 5:16 to take a 77-75 lead following a pair of free throws from guard Ronnie Brewer. But Darrel Mitchell's 3-pointer with 11.2 seconds remaining spoiled Arkansas' comeback. It also dealt a serious blow to the team's chances of getting back into the Southeastern Conference West race.
"We've just got to find that ingredient that will get us over the hump down the stretch," Brewer said. "Tell our fans, sooner or later, we're going to win these close games."
Fortunately for the Razorbacks, they don't need to worry too much over the next two weeks about pulling out wins on the road. Arkansas plays three of its next four games in Bud Walton Arena, starting with a 7:05 p.m. tip-off against Auburn on Saturday.
And there could be yet another new starting lineup by that time. Heath said he'll speak with sophomore Charles Thomas to see if the sophomore would consider starting at power forward instead of coming off the bench -- as he prefers.
In the meantime, Brewer tried to change the team's mood with a rousing pep talk Thursday that even fired up Heath. But not everyone seems ready to put the one-point loss in the past.
Point guard Sean McCurdy, who appeared distraught after he missed a pair of free throws with 25 seconds remaining that could have clinched a victory over LSU, was not made available to reporters for the second consecutive day.
Heath, however, believes his players have the resiliency to bounce back as they have following the other road losses this season.
"We met last night and it was almost the attitude of, 'You know what? Enough's enough.'" Heath said. "I feel like we're turning the corner. I know we are from an attitude standpoint.
"I know I can handle it, and I know the players can handle it."
Another Road Game, Another Tough Loss
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