Hogs Lose Handle

FAYETTVILLE — Considering the way Arkansas carelessly played during most of its 74-72 loss Saturday at Ole Miss, the Razorbacks' frustrating ending seemed quite fitting.

Point guard Gary Ervin decided to take matters into his own hands late in the game. Twice, with the Hogs trailing by one in the final 20 seconds, he saw a brief opening. Twice, he forced shots up in traffic. Twice, he ignored other options on the "Razorback" play Heath called. Twice, the Razorbacks came away with nothing from the possessions. "Those are plays where I need to make the right decisions, and it was pretty obvious that I didn't do that," Ervin said. "It was like that all game." To be fair, Ervin wasn't the only Arkansas player making poor choices with the basketball Saturday. It was a collective disaster. Ervin committed a game-high seven turnovers. Patrick Beverley and Darian Townes each had four. Charles Thomas and Sonny Weems each had three. After struggling with ball-control issues early in the season, Arkansas seemed to have solved its problems lately. In six of its seven games leading up to Saturday's contest, Arkansas had committed less than 12 turnovers. But in Tad Smith Coliseum, a place where Arkansas has now lost 10 of its last 11 games, the Hogs' turnover woes re-emerged. The Razorbacks committed 11 miscues in the first half and 10 after halftime. No Arkansas player could even come up with a valid reason for the sudden reversal. "I can't really explain it," Thomas said. "They weren't even good turnovers. We were just being silly with the ball — all of us." In the first half, Arkansas produced unforced turnovers of all kinds. Weems threw an inbounds pass after an Ole Miss basket over Ervin's head and into the crowd. Hunter couldn't handle a pass that hit him right in the hands. Townes simply dropped two passes out of bounds right as he was about to go up for a layup. Thomas tossed a pass into the arms of an Ole Miss defender. Then, in several key spots late in the second half, the Hogs again got sloppy. With the Hogs down 67-65, Thomas had a lazy pass tipped away. With the Razorbacks trailing 71-69, the Rebels stole a lethargic pass from Weems. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy felt like the Rebels' game plan of alternating between several defenses bothered Arkansas, especially Ervin. Ervin disagreed, noting he believed the problems were forced by himself and not the Ole Miss defense. "Seriously, they didn't do anything special to make me uncomfortable," Ervin said. "I just wasn't prepared, and that's all my fault. This (loss) is on me. "I just made too many little mistakes. As this team's leader, I can't let that happen."

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