Weems Shakes Off Poor Shooting

FAYETTEVILLE -- His first shot Wednesday night, a 12-footer, never even touched the rim. The airball put a hefty dent into Sonny Weems' confidence.

But not like his next attempt.

Weems drove baseline, past Auburn's Frank Tolbert, and leapt high to throw down a vicious one-handed dunk. Only he missed, accidentally throwing the ball over the rim and out of bounds.

"Right then, I was like, 'Man, it's going to be a long night,'" Weems said. "So I knew I just had to do some things to get the team going. I'm a team player."

To Weems, Arkansas' third-leading scorer, that meant shifting his focus away from scoring and more toward rebounding and passing.

The conscious change showed in Weems' final statistics. The 6-foot-6 junior college transfer finished Arkansas' 65-57 victory with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. But he dished out a career-high nine assists, grabbed five rebounds and snared three steals.

Weems also committed only three turnovers, two below his miscue figure in each of Arkansas' past three games.

Though Weems posted his second-lowest scoring total of the season, Arkansas coach Stan Heath said he was impressed with Weems' ability to adapt.

"Personally, if you ask him and if you ask me, we'd both say it wasn't one of his better games," Heath said. "He had that turnover bug going, and from that aspect, he did make some nice passes to his teammates.

"Sometimes, the shot's not falling. You don't get in rhythm. And the question is: Can you do something else to help your team? He did."

Weems laughed Thursday when recalling how Wednesday's game played out. Normally, he's catching passes from Ervin and converting them into points.

"Me and Gary (Ervin) kind of switched roles," Weems said.

True enough. Ervin did the scoring, with 18 second-half points, and Weems did the pinpoint passing, recording seven second-half assists.

Weems' most important assist came with the contest's outcome still in question. With the Hogs up 59-55, and just more than one minute left, Weems lofted a lob for Steven Hill.

The 7-footer dunked it while being fouled, sealing Arkansas' fourth Southeastern Conference victory.

Ervin said Weems' actions epitimized his increasing maturity.

"I give my MVP up to Sonny Weems, for his nine assists," Ervin said.



Steven Hill Update

The second-degree pulled hamstring in Steven Hill's left leg could keep him from playing Saturday at LSU.

Arkansas trainer Dave England said he considers Hill's chances of seeing action "between doubtful and questionable." It all depends on how Hill responds during Arkansas' practice today at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

"We'll just have to see," England said. "We'll try to tape him up and see what he can do (today)."

Hill injured the leg while leaping for an alley-oop dunk late in the second half of Arkansas' 65-57 victory Wednesday night over Auburn. Hill said he felt a pop in the back of his left leg as he jumped up to catch the ball.

"I want to play," Hill said. "I'm hopeful I can play."



SATURDAY'S TICKET

ARKANSAS AT LSU

WHEN: 2:05 p.m. TV: KHOG (Ch. 7)

WHERE: Pete Maravich Assembly Center

RECORDS: Arkansas 15-8, 4-5 Southeastern Conference; LSU 13-10, 2-7

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

COACHES: Arkansas, Stan Heath (76-65, 5th season; 106-71 overall, 6 seasons); LSU, John Brady, (180-121, 10th season; 269-198 overall, 16 seasons)

SERIES: Arkansas leads 26-17 (The Razorbacks last won in Baton Rouge in 2001)

LAST MEETING: Arkansas won 72-52 on Jan. 20 in Fayetteville


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