Quick Turnaround

FAYETTEVILLE -- A familiar face stopped by Arkansas' basketball practice Thursday afternoon.

He stood next to Arkansas coach Stan Heath as the Hogs' fifth-year coach addressed the media to discuss tonight's 7:05 home contest against Oral Roberts.

And judging from the words spoken by former Hogs guard Jonathon Modica, a visit from "Pookie" was just what Heath's team needed after Wednesday's tough loss at Texas.

"Pookie came by and gave an interesting speech today," Heath said. "He told us everything was going to be all right."

The Hogs found Modica's sentiments easy to stomach because of their flirtation with a key road victory Wednesday. The Razorbacks felt devastated and embrarrassed after each of their previous two defeats -- at Missouri and to Texas Tech in Little Rock.

But after leading by as much as six in the second half Wednesday night in Austin, Arkansas (8-3) didn't bring too many negative thoughts back to Fayetteville. In fact, the Hogs came back eager to return to the court. They'll get their chance, about 45 hours after the final buzzer from their 80-76 loss.

"We're hungry," Arkansas small forward Sonny Weems said. "We want to get back out there and get a win. We came together as a team (against Texas) and proved a lot to ourselves. We just have to keep doing what we did for most of the Texas game."

Arkansas will have to repeat its high-energy performance to compete with Oral Roberts, coached by Scott Sutton, son of former Arkansas coach Eddie Sutton.

The Golden Eagles won the Mid-Continent Conference regular season and tournament titles last season, and Heath said they looked improved this season. Though the Golden Eagles (5-5) have struggled at times this season with inferior competition, they do own a victory at Kansas.

"I expect them to win their league (again) and be in the NCAA Tournament," Heath said. "When they've played the premier schools on their schedule, you see a different Oral Roberts. Caleb Green and Ken Tutt are a great 1-2 punch."

The key to succeeding in the quick turnaround, several players agreed, was getting off to a quick start. The last time Arkansas played a game with just one day off, Texas Tech reeled off an 18-3 game-opening spurt.

But that run was fueled by turnovers and poor decision-making.

In the Texas game, Arkansas committed a season-low 11 turnovers, exhibited patience and entrusted its offense to post players such as Charles Thomas. A repeat of that game plan surely would result in Arkansas' ninth victory, Gary Ervin said.

"We know now what it takes to win," Ervin said. "You know, we're still learning a little bit as a team, but we came a long way (Wednesday). We just need to keep building off that."

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