Hogs Use Plenty Sources Of Motivation

FAYETTEVILLE -- Sources of motivation were plentiful Saturday for Sonny Weems during Arkansas' 83-66 victory over Ole Miss.

The Razorbacks' standing in the Southeastern Conference Western Division inspired Weems. Defending the Hogs' home court fueled him. So did paying back Ole Miss for Arkansas' loss on Jan. 13. But nothing provoked Weems more than his suspension Wednesday night in Arkansas' defeat at Mississippi State. Weems didn't start that night, as punishment for breaking curfew the evening before the Razorbacks' loss at LSU on Feb. 10. He sat out the first eight minutes, 35 seconds. Arkansas trailed 15-9 at the time, and things only got worse. He started the second half in Starkville, Miss., but logged just 18 minutes. "I hate what people might think about me now," Weems said. "A lot of people think I'm a bad kid. I'm not a bad kid." Weems paused, smiled and said, "I think I'm a great kid." All those motivating factors contributed to a crucial bounce-back performance for the 6-foot-6 junior. Weems' 19 points tied his second-highest total this season, and his two turnovers his fewest since Jan. 20. Along with freshman Patrick Beverley, Weems supplied an immediate spark Saturday as Arkansas stayed in contention for the NCAA Tournament. Weems scored all eight of his first-half points before five minutes had even expired. On Arkansas' second possession, Weems caught a pass from Sean McCurdy and swished a 3-pointer. After an Ole Miss turnover, Weems drained an 8-foot pull-up while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but his 3-pointer with 15:25 left in the first half put Arkansas up 17-11. "It was great to him going early," Beverley said. "When we both are going, it's pretty tough for defenses." The two newcomers worked together in the second half for one of the game's highlights. Beverley was a little off-balance when he streaked down court and hauled in a pass from Gary Ervin. Beverley could've attempted an awkward layup attempt. Instead, Weems trailed behind Beverley and caught his attention. Beverley pitched the ball back to Weems for an emphatic slam and a 60-48 lead. Weems ran back on defense, his teeth easily visible because of his wide grin. "That's a highlight play (from Sonny)," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. WEDNESDAY'S TICKET ARKANSAS AT AUBURN WHEN: 7 p.m. WHERE: Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, Auburn, Ala. TV: None 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: Arkansas, 16-10, 5-7 Southeastern Conference; Auburn, 14-12, 4-8 HEAD COACHES: Arkansas, Stan Heath (fifth season); Auburn, Jeff Lebo (third season).

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