ATHENS, Ga. - Every time Charles Thomas scored or grabbed a rebound on Sunday, he yelled loudly.
The young sophomore nicknamed Manimal did a lot of yelling.
Thomas had his second double-double of the year with 15 points and career-high 15 rebounds to help power visiting Arkansas to a 74-57 win at Georgia on Sunday afternoon as the surging Razorbacks won their fifth straight game.
"Was it 15? I thought it was just 10," Thomas said of his rebounds. " It was just about going out there and being aggressive and trying to get every extra rebound and just trying to do every little thing I can. Wow, what a game."
Thomas had 10 of those points and 7 of his boards in the opening half for Arkansas (21-8, 10-6) and then grabbed another 8 boards after the break and also chipped in five points in front of the Georgia student section.
The students - part of a dismal crowd that was around 2,000 fans although 6,170 was announced as the number of tickets sold - yelled along with and at Thomas in the second half.
"I used it to my advantage," Thomas said. "When somebody is screaming for me, that just gets me more pumped out."
Told they were not necessarily screaming for him, Thomas who had 5 of Arkansas' 17 offensive rebounds - simply said "In my mind they were."
Ronnie Brewer had a game-high 25 points, Jonathon Modica 19 and Eric Ferguson 11 points in the win, but it was Thomas who set the tone early in both halves on Sunday by going to the boards with energy.
As he has been in several games, he was the Razorbacks' main force inside as others struggled inside the lane.
"I don't really get as many touches as the rest of the players so I just get my points hustling," Thomas said. "I get my points off (missed shots) by Ronnie, Pookie (Modica) and Darian (Townes)."
It was the second straight road win for the Razorbacks, coming after toppling then No. 7 Tennessee in Knoxville to go along with an earlier SEC road win at Auburn.
"This is what it is all about," Thomas said. "The team playing together and really coming together on the road. This is what - our third road win? This right here says a lot."
It certainly was a different scene from back on Feb. 15th when Arkansas lost at Ole Miss 73-70 to fall to 16-8 overall and 5-6 in league action.
"After the Ole Miss game everybody got together - excluding the coaches - and really came together," Thomas said. "The coaches are trying to coach and it is up to the player to produce. We are the ones out there on the floor and we have got to do what we have to do."
Actually Sunday's game was similar to the one at Ole Miss complete with the small crowd - until the second half started when the Razorbacks ripped off a 10-0 to grad a 50-32 lead before the first TV timeout after intermission.
"We wanted to make sure the same type thing didn't happen like it did at Ole Miss," Modica said. "We came out flat and kind of relaxed (at Ole Miss) so we were going to make sure we didn't let their (non-energetic) crowd effect us and the fact that they didn't have too many people show up mess our game up."
Thomas said his team intends to keep its momentum going in the SEC Tournament this week in Nashville. The Razorbacks and Bulldogs will actually play one another again Thursday night at around 8:45 p.m. in the opening round.
"We have great fan support," Thomas said. "I think Coach Heath said (at one hotel), LSU has 50 rooms, Alabama 50 rooms and we have 200 rooms. We have great fan support and we have to go down there and give the fans what they came for."
Brewer echoed those sentiments about a fan base who has send the Razorbacks go one-and-out in the league tournament the past four seasons, one under interim head coach Mike Anderson and three under Heath.
"I think it is important for our team morale and our fans," Brewer said. "The past couple of years we have gone to the tournament it has been one and done every year. I think our fan support has been great and they are going to follow us out to Nashville. The least we can do is go out there and have a good showing in the SEC Tournament. I think they will happen this time."
Modica, who was steamed that he took a couple of elbows to the mouth on Sunday, said his team will not be taking Georgia lightly when the rematch rolls around on Thursday.
"I feel like we match up well with them, but at the same time we know they are going to play with a lot more energy and intensity than they did today," Modica said. "We look for them to play a better game than they did today. They have got a lot of young guys. I know what they are going through. I have been through it myself. It is not a game we are going to take lightly. You can best believe that."
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