Solid Defense Secures Win For Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE —Arkansas used pressure, at times the kind that can burst pipes on a cold, winter day, to upset No. 16 LSU on Saturday in Bud Walton Arena.

It wasn't the man-to-man, in-your-face defense which caused all the chaos, but rather an extremely well-executed zone which forced the Tigers to taking hurried shots or lose possession while trying to jam the ball inside.

As a direct result, the Razorbacks walked away with a 72-52 win against the bewildered Tigers in front of 18,976 fans and a national television audience.

That zone defense was primarily responsible for forcing 16 LSU turnovers and holding it to 21 of 60 shooting. That translates into a not-so-impressive 35 percent.

In addition, Arkansas had 9 steals and 6 blocked shots.

Razorbacks point guard Gary Ervin said there was a method to the madness. He, too, said his team had a major objective.

"We knew they were a good team their main focus was to get (LSU center) Glen Davis the basketball," Ervin said. "We just tried to attack them and get after their shooters and just try and get into transition."

Arkansas swingman Sonny Weems said the new-and-improved zone was getting its first test drive.

"We just put that 1-2-2 defense in, like a day ago," Weems said. "We just put it in, and we did good with it.

"We actually practiced it before our last home game (against Georgia last Wednesday), but we didn't run it in the game. We went over it before the start of the season but we never brought it took the court.

"We did today."

So, why wait to break it out Saturday?

"I don't know," Weems said. "It was coach's decision so we did it."

Hogs forward Charles Thomas was happy with the decision.

"I liked it," Thomas said. "The zone, it's a new zone for us. It's more of a matchup zone. It's just really made to cover the post, to take a lot of post play away from them.

"Credit our team for really getting it done by using a new defense and focusing in on it. We got it done."

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