Razorbacks Striving For Consistent Effort

FAYETTEVILLE -- Sonny Weems already figured he wouldn't underestimate Wofford, the Razorbacks' season-opening opponent tonight in Bud Walton Arena. Before starting practice Wednesday, the senior forward spoke of respecting the Terriers, a Southern Conference squad that finished 10-20 last season.

Of course, if any of Weems' teammates didn't agree with him, a jolting result Wednesday night would help. Kentucky lost at home, by 16 points, to Atlantic Sun Conference member Gardner-Webb. Before that shocker, Weems sounded adamant about not allowing a similar occurrence.

"We have to come out and be serious from the start," Weems said. "We need to prove to Coach (John) Pelphrey that we're capable of playing hard for the whole game, like we did in our first (exhibition) game."

The No. 19 Razorbacks' lackluster effort at times in their second exhibition contest didn't sit well with Pelphrey, who makes his Arkansas regular-season coaching debut tonight. He loved his Hogs' effort in a 74-point exhibition victory over Division II West Florida.

But four days later, Tuesday night, his Razorbacks seemed content after grabbing a 30-4 lead against NAIA Campbellsville (Ky.). Pelphrey even yanked out his starters in the first two minutes of the second half, perturbed with their lack of focus and intensity.

"It concerned me that they were able to come down and run offense on us," Pelphrey said.

Pelphrey said his biggest worry for tonight revolved around Wofford's ability to fire from the outside with multiple shooters. The Razorbacks lost track of Campbellsville's perimeter threats often in the second half, and Pelphrey doesn't want to see a repeat.

"There's a good chance (Wofford) will be shooting from four spots at least, so somebody's going to be put in an uncomfortable situation," Pelphrey said. "Basically, we're having to guard a guard-like player on offense. Early in the year, the 3-point line defensively is a major concern."

Taking care of the ball offensively is another one -- Arkansas committed 21 turnovers Tuesday night.

"They happened because of a lack of focus," sophomore guard Patrick Beverley said. "I really think we weren't mentally focused for the game. Since we won by (74 in the first game), we came out overconfident."

Kentucky proved that isn't an option for Arkansas.

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