Arkansas Guard Makes A Point To Improve

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas guard Gary Ervin leaned back on his arms and took a well-deserved rest in the interview room before fielding questions.

Ervin, a 5-foot-11 junior, had a breakout game in leading his team to a 91-57 win against Oakland on Tuesday night in Bud Walton Arena.

Ervin, a transfer from Mississippi State, dazzled 9,271 eyewitness with his hiccup-quick moves and clever ball movement.

He played 26 minutes, scored 9 points and had career highs in assists (8) and steals (3) in his brief Arkansas career.

"I was just trying to come out and be aggressive on the offensive end," Ervin said. "Me getting to the basket, or me getting it to the open guy.

"It worked out well tonight."

Ervin slowly is settling in as the starting point guard. "This is something I've been looking forward to playing very well in the offense," Ervin said. "I think some of the rust is off and I'm just trying to play better basketball."

Speaking of rust, one would have thought Arkansas might fall victim to that since it hadn't played since a 75-69 win against Central Michigan on Dec. 5.

"In a nine-day break, it's an excuse to say we tried to not come out rusty," Ervin said. "We just came out trying to play hard on the defensive end and tried to get baskets in transition.

"I think we did a good job at that."

Arkansas now must play three games in six days, starting with Saturday against Texas Tech in North Little Rock.

"That's what college basketball is about," Ervin said. "We had a break and time to rest, now we have to get into a groove before we get into SEC (Southeastern Conference) play."

Ervin set the stage for his eye-popping night early on. In the first half, he had 7 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.

Defensively, Ervin made life miserable for Oakland guards Rick Billings and Johnathon Jones, mostly Jones who drew the majority of Ervin's attention for much of the game.

"I think Ervin is a good player offensively and defensively," Razorbacks forward Vincent Hunter said. "Everything starts with your point guard. He's got a lot of stuff on his shoulders.

"He handled it very well."

Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley agreed.

"He was a great leader for us," Beverley said. "He stepped up for us tonight. He really didn't force anything. When he passed we tried to get open for our shots. We just fed off him. He did everything a point guard is supposed to do in a game.

"He did everything to help us win."

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