Hogs Trio Resting Little

FAYETTEVILLE — His plastic mask in hand, Sonny Weems slumped back in his sideline chair Saturday. As the final seconds to Arkansas' 72-52 victory over LSU ticked off the scoreboard, Weems enjoyed some rare rest.

So did Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley. "I think we're starting to get used to being out there for a long time," Weems said. They better, because Arkansas coach Stan Heath has shown he prefers to keep Weems and his two fellow newcomers on the floor for most of every game. With suspect depth at point guard, shooting guard and small forward, Heath has decided to rely heavily on three players who didn't wear an Arkansas uniform last season. He provided ample evidence Saturday, playing Beverley for a game-high 39 minutes, Weems for 38 and Ervin for 35. Surprisingly, Beverley has logged more playing time than any other Razorback this season, averaging 33.4 minutes per game. The 6-foot-1 true freshman from Chicago gives the Hogs a boost in so many areas that his presence is always missed when he's on the bench. "We need him on the floor for so many reasons," Ervin said. "He's a great scorer, but he does so many other great things, like pass and rebound and get steals." After scoring in double figures in seven consecutive games, Beverley has tallied just nine points in Arkansas' last two contests. No matter, Weems said. "Look at everything else he does," Weems said. True enough, Beverley snagged five rebounds and dished out four assists against LSU. Ervin and Weems both are similar to Beverley in that they contribute in more ways than one. Ervin rarely left the floor after beginning the game next to Heath, in favor of freshman Stefan Welsh. "I guess you could say (I was sending a message)," Heath said. The junior transfer from Mississippi State responded, scoring 11 points, handing out seven assists, grabbing four rebounds and recording three steals. He didn't force passes, didn't make bone-headed decisions and didn't put his head down like he did in losses at Ole Miss and to Georgia. "I was just back to being smart with the basketball," Ervin said. As was Weems, who finally looked comfortable in that mask he's worn since cracking his nose on Jan. 9 at Florida. Weems showed aggressiveness on the offensive end. He drained four 3-pointers, snatched five rebounds and had three assists. Defensively, the junior college transfer anchored the top of Arkansas' 1-2-2 zone, which Heath had installed on Friday. "All that did make me tired," Weems said. "But we're all in great shape. It doesn't affect us." Good thing. For the rest of the season, the trio shouldn't expect too much rest.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories