Ferguson puts lockdown on UT's Lofton

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Arkansas point guard Eric Ferguson was faced with the challenge of trying to slow down Tennessee guard Chris Lofton, arguably the Southeastern Conference's best pure shooter.

But as difficult as the task seemed, Lofton was never able to find his shooting touch with Ferguson -- and to a lesser extent, Dontell Jefferson -- closely guarding him throughout Arkansas' 73-69 upset at No. 10 Tennessee on Saturday.

Lofton, the SEC's leading 3-point shooter, scored only four points and missed his only 3-point attempt in the first half. The sophomore didn't hit his first 3-pointer until 11 minutes, 14 seconds remained in the game, and he finished with 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting.

"I just wanted to deny him [the ball]," Ferguson said. "He got the ball a couple of times, but I just wanted to chase him around and not let him get off a clean shot."

Lofton was averaging 25.4 points and 6.6 3-pointers over the past five games, but he struggled to find an open shot with Ferguson and Jefferson shadowing him and power forward Darian Townes providing some help defense. Lofton made only 2-of-5 3-point attempts.

Afterward, Arkansas coach Stan Heath said Ferguson was disappointed with himself after he allowed Alabama point guard Ronald Steele to score a career-high 29 points to nearly help the Crimson Tide pull off a win at Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday.

"I think today he wanted to make sure that he did the best job he could," Heath said of Ferguson. "Chris Lofton is a phenomenal player, not just a shooter. He [Ferguson] stayed as close as he could to him [Lofton]; he crowded him."

Brewer makes up for poor shooting

Heading into Saturday, Arkansas guard Ronnie Brewer was the SEC's leading scorer. But he had a bigger impact passing the ball against Tennessee.

Brewer dished out a season-high nine assists to help make up for a poor shooting performance and lead the Razorbacks back from a 14-point deficit. He continually passed to Townes in the paint, and he found other teammates for wide-open shots.

Brewer ran the offense like a point guard, which Arkansas needed considering that the Fayetteville native struggled to find an offensive rhythm.

Brewer scored only six points on 3-of-7 shooting in the first half, and his only basket of the second half came on a 3-pointer that cut Tennessee's lead to 63-57 with 5:47 remaining.

Brewer finished with nine points, 9.5 points below his season scoring average. But he grabbed five rebounds to go along with his game-high nine assists.

"I'm not really a type of player that forces a lot of stuff, so I just let the stuff come to me," Brewer said. "And when the right situation comes, I try to take advantage of it. ... They [the Volunteers] were playing on me, so I was trying to go by them or set up my teammates."

Watson is (Bernard) King for a day

It's unlikely that C.J. Watson will be mistaken any time soon for Bernard King. But Watson looked like the former Tennessee All-American for at least one day.

Rather than wearing his usual No. 32, Watson sported a Tennessee throwback jersey with King's name and No. 53 on it.

"It was just something I talked to the coaches about to give Bernard King some respect," Watson said. "He was a great player at Tennessee."

And the wardrobe change seemed to pay off for Watson, who scored nine points in the first half and led the Volunteers with 17 points. He also added four rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes.

King led the SEC in scoring as a freshman during the 1974-75 season, and he's considered one of the league's greatest players despite leaving Tennessee after his junior year.

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