McCurdy, Ervin Pave Way For Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE -- Sean McCurdy started his fourth game of the season for Arkansas against Ole Miss on Saturday, and served as part of a two-headed point guard along with Gary Ervin.

McCurdy had 5 points, 4 assists and 2 turnovers in 12 minutes, and Ervin came off the bench to provide 7 points, 8 assists and 3 turnovers in 29 minutes, as Arkansas won 83-66.

"Against Mississippi State (on Wednesday) I thought Sean played real well," Hogs coach Stan Heath said. "I thought he deserved to start today. Gary didn't sulk, didn't get down. It was good to see him bounce back and be a team player."

Patrick Beverley, who led Arkansas with 24 points, credited the McCurdy-Ervin tandem with some of his success.

"Both point guards came out and played great," Beverley said. "They battle each other every day in practice. Coach (Heath) said earlier he wanted me to get more touches, and they were looking for me. But when Ole Miss keyed on me, other guys were getting open. It was a team effort."

Sonny Weems, who scored 19 points for Arkansas, also pointed to the two-headed point guard as a key.

"Gary and Sean did a great job of getting me and Pat the ball in transition," Weems said. "It all starts with the point guard."


Darian Townes, Arkansas' 6-foot-10 junior forward/center who was named preseason second-team All-SEC but has been inconsistent, emerged with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks on Saturday.

"And two steals!" Townes chirped as he perused a stat sheet. "You've gotta get after it!"

Heath noticed.

"Darian played one of his best games in the post," Heath said. "We had one of our better screening days."

Townes was proud that Arkansas bounced back from an 84-60 loss to Mississippi State.

"Some teams tend to give up after a big loss," he said. "But today our defense created a lot of easy baskets and we didn't have to do too much in our offensive sets."

Weems credited Heath with a do-better talk at halftime.

"Coach kept telling us to take pride in our defense," Weems said. "He said we were only one point ahead at halftime and you're supposed to beat everyone by 15 or 20 in your house."

The Hogs obeyed, and that left Townes pounding his chest in the second half.

"We're still a strong team on the (SEC) West side," Townes said. "We played inside-out the whole game, and didn't let loose on anything. When Charles Thomas hit that first three, I knew it was going to be a good game on the outside. It opened up everything.

"We're trying to get to the NCAA Tournament. We're hungry."


Former UA guard and current Utah Jazz player Ronnie Brewer, who was honored by Fayetteville High on Friday night, attended Saturday's game along with former Hogs teammate Jonathon Modica.

"Ronnie gave me a couple of winks during the game," Heath said. "I would rather have had him on our team."

Brewer said, "It's cool" to play for the Jazz and coach Jerry Sloan, but that there's more intensity in the NBA than in college.

"The rhythm is all different," Brewer said. "The shots come earlier and it's all about execution. It's very important that you learn that early."

Brewer said he thought the Hogs could "definitely" still reach the NCAA tourney, by winning more games.


As an apparent protest against restrictions on signage in Bud Walton Arena, UA students held up blank signs during the Ole Miss player introductions...

A total of 20 youngsters were awarded Brandon Burlsworth scholarships at halftime on Saturday, bringing the total Burlsworth fund contributions to $1.9 million.

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