Simply Stunning

NORTH LITTLE ROCK -- Silence engulfed the Arkansas locker room in Alltel Arena.

Moments after losing 71-56 to Texas Tech, the Razorbacks unlaced their shoes. They changed out of their uniforms. They threw on their headphones. Few words were spoken.

Not much to say after a dismal effort like the one they put forth Saturday before 13,283 fans and an ESPN audience.

"I think all of us were stunned in a way," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "We really felt confident coming into this game, and to see us not play at the level we felt we could play at was disappointing. I felt it stunned the players and the coaches, too."

The Hogs' dismantling of Oakland (Mich.) on Thursday night had them eagerly anticipating their annual trip to North Little Rock. Now, they're hoping to quickly forget the two hours that resulted in victory No. 878 for Texas Tech coach Bob Knight.

Arkansas (8-2) couldn't complain too much about its performance in the last 32 minutes Saturday. Once the Hogs settled in, they matched the Red Raiders in intensity and on the scoreboard.

Those first eight minutes? Those were devastating.

Sonny Weems' 3-pointer from the right corner gave Arkansas a 3-0 lead. The Razorbacks wouldn't score for another seven minutes, 21 seconds.

Texas Tech (9-3) tallied 18 points during the drought, building a lead that would account for the final margin of victory.

"We didn't come out ready," freshman Patrick Beverley said. "There's no excuse. I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for the fans that came out to see us. I apologize."

Beverley's plea for forgiveness stemmed from a query about Arkansas' stagnant early offense.

The Razorbacks couldn't do wrong with the ball Thursday in scoring 91 points, flashing a constant flow and exhibiting cohesiveness. But in Saturday's eight game-deciding minutes, the Hogs appeared lost. They wore puzzled looks. They stood still. They bickered.

"Maybe we could take a page out of Texas Tech's book -- the way they can cut, use screens and backdoor you," Heath said. "If we can put some of that into what we're trying to do, it would make us a better team."

Even that may not have helped. Not with the pressure defense that impeded Gary Ervin and Beverley from initiating Arkansas' offense. Not with the physical post presence that kept the ball from going to Charles Thomas, who went on to score 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.

"We tried to put a lot of pressure on their ball-handlers and deny their wings," Texas Tech guard Charlie Burgess said. "Teams like (Arkansas) are only going to run their sets for a little bit, and then they're going to go one-on-one. So we just did our best to create as much chaos as possible."

The Hogs, despite committing 18 turnovers, did finally deal with Texas Tech's harassing defense after Beverley got them back in the scoring column on a pull-up jumper with 11:39 left in the first half. Arkansas cut the Red Raiders lead to 13 points at halftime and slashed the deficit to eight four times in the second half.

But the Razorbacks couldn't get closer. Reasons for not trimming the eight-point leads included a silly foul, a defensive breakdown and an offensive foul.

All legitimate reasons to feel stunned.

"I think the big shot or the big stop just eluded us," Heath said. "I really thought if we could just push the thing down to about 5 or 4, and get the crowd really fired up and get us energized, that it would help us. But we couldn't."

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