Because of suspensions handed down by Arkansas coach Stan Heath, Ervin and Sonny Weems didn't start Wednesday night in the Hogs' 84-60 loss at Mississippi State.
McCurdy picked up the slack in their absence, starting both halves and tying a career-high with 10 points in 25 minutes.
"I just felt comfortable out there," McCurdy said. "I just tried to get everybody involved in the offense and get everybody touches."
He drained three of his six shots from the field, dished out three assists and snagged three rebounds. His two 3-pointers aided a brief Arkansas rally late in the second half.
"I want to give Sean a lot of credit," Heath said. "I thought he did a great job. Really pleased and impressed with him. Did well in that spot for us."
McCurdy likely will head back to the bench for Arkansas' home game Saturday against Ole Miss. He hopes to use Wednesday's experience as an educational experience.
"It feels good, but I have to play that way off the bench," McCurdy said. "Now I know what it takes."
Punishment for Ervin, Weems
McCurdy and Vincent Hunter started the game in place of Ervin and Weems. Heath said Ervin and Weems had broken curfew last Friday night in Baton Rouge before Arkansas' game at LSU.
"I decided to not only discipline them with running but by taking away some game time," Heath said.
Ervin and Weems didn't even enter Wednesday's defeat until the 11:25 mark of the first half. Arkansas trailed 15-9 at the time.
To begin the second half, Weems started but Ervin still sat on the bench. Ervin said little about the matter Wednesday, but Heath said the incident had obviously affected his junior point guard. Ervin finished the first half with no points for the third consecutive game. Unlike his last two contests, though, Ervin didn't explode in the second half. In fact, he went scoreless after halftime, as well.
He finished 0-for-4 from the field, and Weems hit just two of his eight shots for five points.
"I don't want to use it as a crutch or anything," Heath said. "But it may have affected our chemistry or continuity."
The boos repeated, over and over again, from the time Ervin stepped on the Humphrey Coliseum floor until the time the final buzzer blared.
In his first trip back to Starkville since transferring from Mississippi State, the Bulldogs' fans were relentless. Before the game, during warmups, the Mississippi State students booed constantly. During the game, they booed every time he touched the ball, and they booed every time he entered the game. After halftime, one student yelled, "Hey Gary, your number is the same as your points."
Later, the students hurled chants of "airball" and "good try, Gary" at Ervin, refusing to give up on their harassing.
"I blanked it out throughout warmups and the game," Ervin said. "That's just going to happen."
Arkansas recorded two more rebounds than Mississippi State (39-37) and three more blocked shots (8-5). ... Mississippi State's two walk-ons, Billy Begley and Joseph Iupe, played the final 1:13. Begley missed a 3-pointer and Iupe nailed a layup with 2.4 seconds left. ... Arkansas assistant coach Glynn Cyprien was back home in Fayetteville because of the flu.
McCurdy Excels In Rare Start
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