Weems Struggles With Mask

OXFORD, Miss. -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath didn't want to blame Sonny Weems' struggles against Ole Miss on the protective mask the forward was forced to wear. But it could have played a factor.

Playing in his first game with a cracked nose, Weems had trouble being aggressive and establishing an offensive rhythm in Saturday's 74-72 loss in Tad Smith Coliseum.

The junior scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, but he also seemed to disappear for large stretches of the game. He committed three turnovers, had only one assist and looked uncomfortable at times while playing with the clear mask protecting his face.

Heath said Weems, who played 34 minutes, never complained about the mask during the game.

"Obviously, he wasn't (the) Sonny that we've seen," Heath said. "I've never had a broken nose. I've never worn a mask, so I don't know the effects of that."

Weems had a bone in his nose cracked when he was elbowed by Florida forward Corey Brewer in the second half of Tuesday's 79-72 loss in Gainesville. Saturday was the first time the junior played with the mask, which is intended to protect his nose from further injury.

At first, Weems didn't seem to be bothered by the face guard. During a 28-second stretch early in the first half, the forward threw down a two-handed dunk, blocked a shot and set up point guard Gary Ervin for a 3-pointer.

But Weems made only 2-of-5 shots in the second half.



More Injuries

Ervin and fellow Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley each had to be helped off the court in the second half of Saturday's loss, though both returned shortly after getting injured.

Beverley suffered what is being described as a bruised tailbone after getting undercut by an Ole Miss player while going for a rebound with Ole Miss leading 65-61 with 4:29 left.

Heath came onto the court to check on the freshman, and Beverley was able to walk off the court with some help. Beverley, who finished with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, returned following a timeout with 2:55 remaining.

Ervin, meanwhile, limped off the court with 40.7 seconds remaining after spraining an ankle. Despite the injury, the point guard returned to play the remainder of the game.

"I'm concerned about those guys (Beverley and Ervin), so when we go back home, we'll get them looked at -- especially Patrick," Heath said. "I'm real concerned about him."



Thompson In Attendance

Former Arkansas defensive coordinator and current University of Central Arkansas athletic director John Thompson attended Saturday's game, sitting in the second row with his wife and two kids.

Thompson said late last week that he has spoken with Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron about a position on the Rebels' staff.

Thompson served as an assistant coach at Arkansas from 2000-01. His last coaching job was as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina in 2005.

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