Arkansas 75, C of C 49

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Patrick Beverley peeked to his right and saw Arkansas coach John Pelphrey's big right index finger targeting a spot on a post-game statistics sheet.

He leaned over, a few minutes after the No. 18 Razorbacks toppled College of Charleston 75-49 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, and could muster only two words.

"That's gross," Beverley said, shaking his head in the interview room at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, before reiterating, "that's gross."

Pelphrey didn't put up an argument. The No. 18 Razorbacks cruised in Thursday's second half, showing more hustle and cohesiveness than they had in their three previous halves of basketball.

But their first-half performance was far too sloppy, far too self-destructive, to ignore. Arkansas committed 17 turnovers before halftime, and the Hogs added nine more in the second half to give them a total of 26. That was the number Pelphrey pointed at, the number that caused Beverley's response.

"It was like we were playing College of Charleston and ourselves in the first half," Pelphrey said. "Every way you could imagine to turn the ball over without a team pressing us in the first half happened. I really doubt there will be another game this year that we can turn the ball over this many times and win."

"I thought we played the game a lot better in the second half."

The Razorbacks undoubtedly improved offensively after halftime. Beverley scored nine of his game-high 16 points in the second half, and Sonny Weems tallied all 10 of his points after the break.

Defensively, however, the Hogs didn't upgrade their play in the second half. After all, they really didn't have to.

Arkansas forced 17 turnovers and hounded the Cougars into awful shooting starts in both halves. College of Charleston missed its first 10 shots and didn't score until 11 minutes, 35 seconds remained in the first half. By then, Arkansas led 11-0.

The Cougars then missed seven of their first 10 shot attempts of the second half. In the midst of that stretch, Arkansas went on an 11-0 run and never saw its lead fall below double digits again.

"I thought we did a really good job in the first half of guarding them," Pelphrey said. "That's what made (the first half) so frustrating."

The mistakes were the result of mental weakness, Pelphrey said, the result of Arkansas' ongoing battle on the "six-inch playing field between our ears." Four players had four turnovers, and all but two Razorbacks recorded turnovers.

"Overall, the turnovers were out of control," said center Steven Hill, who had three of his own.

Arkansas has no time to dwell on the carelessness. The Razorbacks face Providence, a talented Big East school, at 4 p.m. today, and Pelphrey said the Hogs must deliver a finishing blow the next time they have the chance.

"For us to turn it over when they weren't pressing us, when they weren't trapping us, it was a mental thing," Pelphrey said. "We tried to force balls and make spectacular plays. When you turn it over that many times, then you get a little more cautious and hesitant, and then that causes turnovers."

Stefan Welsh drives around Marcus Hammond.

Darian Townes scores two of his 11 points.

Gary Ervin pulls up for a basket.

John Pelphrey

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