Beverley Drawing More Attention

FAYETTEVILLE -- As Arkansas' season has progressed, freshman guard Patrick Beverley has drawn more attention.

With increasing frequency, opponents aren't forgetting about Beverley. He was smothered for most of Arkansas' 83-72 loss to Tennessee by a variety of Volunteers defenders.

Tennessee guards Ramar Smith, JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton all took turns hounding Beverley. That posed issues for the Hogs, who have counted on Beverley at times as their No. 1 scoring option.

"Patrick has probably been our most consistent player," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "As a freshman, that's tough to rely on him like that."

It's starting to show. Beverley, who several coaches have identified as the front-runner for the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year award, tallied just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.

He didn't score his first points until the 6:06 mark of the first half, when his 3-pointer cut Tennessee's lead to 28-22. His difficult, 10-foot leaner late in the first half put Arkansas up 34-30, but Beverley would go on to score only four points in the second half.

Every time he sprinted off a screen, Tennessee's defenders switched and got a hand in the passing lane. When Beverley drove past his defender, the Volunteers helped out.

Beverley also missed several crucial, wide-open shots. None was more important than the 3-pointer he missed from the left corner that would've drawn Arkansas to within 73-72 with less than two minutes left.

"He can't get down because he's not playing his best," Arkansas forward Sonny Weems said. "We all know his talent, and we're going to keep getting him the ball."



Starting Townes

Heath made a change to his starting lineup Saturday, inserting junior Darian Townes at power forward in an attempt to establish an inside presence.

Townes, making his fifth start of the season and first since a 71-67 loss at LSU on Feb. 10, got off to a slow start before finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Townes started in place of junior Charles Thomas, who gave the Razorbacks a spark off the bench with nine points and six rebounds. Thomas had started the past five games and a total of 23 this season.

"I just felt that Darian over the last three games had played very well, and I was hoping he'd give us a nice lift to start the game, just give us an inside presence and we'd be able to attack them a little bit more," Heath said. "He didn't get off to a start that we were hoping for, and later on he did get it going but it probably just wasn't enough."

Townes struggled to get involved early on, scoring only six points and grabbing two rebounds in the first half. He also came close to recording an unwelcomed triple-double by committing eight turnovers.

But the 6-foot-10 forward played aggressively in the second half, scoring several easy points around the basket to help the Razorbacks stay close with the Volunteers.

Afterward, Townes said he didn't put too much importance into being the starting lineup, instead of coming off the bench.

"I don't mind one way or the other," Townes said. "It's always nice to start, but I don't really care."



Hurt By The Little Things

Other than turnovers, the most glaring things that hurt Arkansas dealt with tiny flaws.

Arkansas outrebounded Tennessee by eight (38-30) but allowed 17 offensive rebounds. The Razorbacks also failed to chase down loose balls, help out on defense and initiate their offense.

"I just think we had way too many breakdowns on little things," Heath said.



Tip-Ins

Though they finished just 1-of-8 from 3-point range, Beverley's 3-pointer extended the Razorbacks' streak of consecutive games with at least one trey at 605. ... Tennessee threw up 35 attempts from beyond the arc, making 10 of them. ... Arkansas shot 51 percent from the field (25 for 49) but took 23 less shots.

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