Arkansas Backcourt Lifts Team To Victory

FAYETTEVILLE -- An electric crowd of 17,935 did a lot of cheering for Arkansas guards Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley on Saturday in Bud Walton Arena.

At times, that backcourt was wicked awesome during its team's 88-61 upset against No. 8 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference opener for both schools.

"I can't talk enough about those players," Razorbacks swingman Sonny Weems said. "They are very good players. Patrick, he can shoot lights out. Gary, he can shoot, dribble, whatever.

"We have the greatest backcourt in the nation."

On Saturday, it would have been hard to argue that assessment. Quite frankly, there wasn't much the tandem couldn't do, and didn't do, in the unexpected rout.

Both were equally adept at carrying the load.

Beverley scored 18 points -- he had 14 in the first half -- while dishing out 4 assists and getting 1 steal.

Ervin had a season high in points (18) and assists (11) while committing only 1 turnover.

"Gary Ervin played great, give him all the credit," Alabama guard Ronald Steele said. "He did what a point guard is supposed to do." And Beverley did what he was supposed to do, namely fill up the basket. He was 5 of 12 from the floor, including 3 of 6 on 3-point attempts, and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.

Together, Ervin and Beverley were almost unstoppable.

"You saw the game, it was just crazy," Beverley said. "Words just can't even describe the way we came out today. We just wanted to prove to everybody that we have an elite team.

"We've been telling people that but we went out and proved it today."

Ervin said it wasn't by mistake it happened, either.

"It all started in practice," Ervin said. "We emphasized they were a good ballclub. Defensively, we concentrated on stopping them from running their sets and then getting into our transition game.

"It worked out perfectly today."

Ervin only sat for five minutes, Beverley sat for only four.

"I mean it's all about conditioning," Beverley said. "The coaching staff has prepared us well. It's about keeping the motors running.

"And the crowd, man, was great.

"Woooo-we. Wooo Pig Soooie! That's all I can say.'"

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