Hogs Feed Off Hill

FAYETTEVILLE — Refusing to take sole credit for his career-high 16 rebounds Saturday in Arkansas' victory over No. 12 Alabama, Steven Hill said luck was a present factor.

"A lot of bounces were going my way," Hill said. "Sometimes the ball would fall into my hands.

"The whole team rebounded well."

No Razorback was better than Hill, though, and his teammates agreed luck played little part.

As he did back on Jan. 6 in Arkansas' first victory over the Crimson Tide, the 7-foot junior wasted no time in making his presence felt.

Nine minutes into Saturday's victory, Arkansas' first on the road this season, Hill already had posted four points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

"Steven is a great post player," Arkansas junior Sonny Weems said. "People have got to see that. Blocked shots, rebounding, dunks — he does a lot of things."

Everything was on display in Coleman Coliseum, a place in which Hill openly said he despised playing.

One student in the Crimson Tide section behind the basket even had a sign on display for Hill. The sign had a picture of Hill, next to the line, "Playing for Arkansas, so easy even a caveman can do it."

On Hill's first free throw attempt, the section chanted, "Ogre! Ogre! Ogre!" On his next try, they chanted, "Stephanie! Stephanie! Stephanie!"

Hill's play shut them up quickly. Mostly, Hill flashed consistent intensity rarely seen throughout his career. He boxed out with authority. He outjumped Alabama's post players, 6-8, 265-pound Richard Hendrix and 6-10 Jermareo Davidson.

"That's how (Alabama) gets a lot of its points, off offensive rebounds," Hill said. "So the fact we kept them off the boards and kept them from getting easy baskets was important."

He also blocked several shots and affected many others. "He's incredible," Beverley said. "You can see why he's a future pro. He plays so hard on the defensive end. He's got everybody's back."

Not even two-thirds of the first half Saturday had passed before Hill established his career-best mark in rebounds.

His performance wrapped up a stellar three-out-of-four game stretch for Hill, who scored in double figures against Georgia and LSU.

He has turned into the consistent force Arkansas coach Stan Heath envisioned when he recruited Hill out of Branson, Mo.

And with Hill anchoring the defense, the Hogs are coming increasingly closer to "hanging their hat on their defense," as Hill said they should.

"That's how we win games, with our defense," Hill said. "We win games with getting easy points of our defense."



WHEN: 12:05 p.m.

WHERE: Bud Walton Arena

TV: KHOG (Cable Ch. 7)

RADIO: KXIO-FM 106.9; KEZA-FM 107.9; KKEG-FM 92.1; KFPW-AM 1230; KQBK-FM 104.7; KHGG-AM 1580; KHGG-FM 103.1; KDYN-AM 1540; KDYN-FM 96.7; KTTG-FM 96.3

RECORDS: Kentucky 16-5, 5-2 Southeastern Conference; Arkansas 14-7, 3-4

HEAD COACHES: Kentucky, Tubby Smith (10th season); Arkansas, Stan Heath (fifth season)

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