Arkansas Frosh Shines In Defeat

FAYETTEVILLE -- With both hands gripping his tiny waist, Arkansas freshman guard Stefan Welsh, dropped his shoulders and bent his head as he walked off the court Saturday afternoon.

Disappointment drenched his face. His fresh coat of confidence seemed washed away. Frustration followed him like a shadow as he headed toward the locker room.

He was bummed out.

Welsh, despite having career highs in points (13), minutes played (20) and assists (4), couldn't quite pondering his team's 82-74 loss against No. 24 Kentucky in Bud Walton Arena.

Welsh, whose previous career-high was eight points, twice this season, scored 10 of his 13 points Saturday in the first half.

"We just had a little slump in the first half," Welsh said. "I just wanted to come in and provide a little spark off the bench. I wanted to do something to help my team.

"For me, fortunately, my shots started to fall and I started to get into a groove. The basket just got bigger, looked bigger and my teammates got me the ball at the right times.

"I wanted to get things going because it's hard to beat a good team like Kentucky."

Welsh, in the first half, almost singlehandedly kept the Razorbacks in the game. In the second half, made one critical 3-pointer and missed another.

"Yeah, I made a 3 to cut into the lead, but I also missed a 3 late in the game," Welsh said. "That's kind of disappointing. Usually, I like coming through in the clutch, but that didn't happen today."

Razorbacks forward Darian Townes said Welsh definitely made a difference at times.

"He stepped up real big on the perimeter, he hit some nice shots," Townes said. "When his feet are set, it's going to go in.

"He played real well we needed them."

Center Steven Hill, too, was appreciative.

"Yeah," Hill said. "He hadn't been playing a lot of minutes, maybe a little more and more. He shot the ball well when we needed him, especially in the first half.

"I'm sure it helped his confidence."

Welsh, playing only a few minutes at a time most of the season, said he was happy for his latest opportunity.

"I've always played on great teams and fortunately gotten to play a lot," Welsh said. "This has been a difficult experience for me not to play much, but my family is always telling me to keep working hard all the time and you'll get your chance.

"Today, I got my chance."

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