Weems Back In Groove

Both Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and VCU's Anthony Grant praise the effort of Razorback senior Sonny Weems in the Razorbacks' 70-60 win on Sunday.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The tape of Sonny Weems frightened Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant. He spent parts of his Saturday and Sunday analyzing Arkansas' 6-foot-6 senior slasher and came away wondering if his Rams could contain Weems.

He learned Sunday that they couldn't in the third-place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Weems scored a game-high 16 points in Arkansas' 70-60 victory Saturday at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico.

"I was really impressed with him on film, with the athleticism, the quickness," Grant said. "He did a good job (Sunday) of being aggressive and attacking the basket. And he was able to knock down some jump shots, which got him going a little bit."

Weems recovered from a brutal effort in No. 18 Arkansas' loss Friday to Providence. He tallied just three points, turned the ball over six times and had no assists. But against the Rams, Weems produced consistently in a season-high 37 minutes.

He was 7-for-12 from the field, scoring 10 of the points before halftime, and snagged a team-high eight rebounds. He had several hustle plays, including a tip-in of a Darian Townes miss and a fast-break dunk off an alley-oop pass from Gary Ervin.

"I thought Sonny was terrific," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said.

Containing Maynor

Coming into Sunday's game, Weems said he knew how important the play VCU point guard Eric Maynor was to the Rams' success. Maynor scored 27 points Friday night in the Rams' semifinal loss to Miami and fueled VCU's upset of Duke in last season's NCAA Tournament.

That realization showed. Arkansas limited Maynor to 12 points on just six shots, often refusing to allow him to even touch the ball.

Pelphrey said switching to a zone defense early in the game helped neutralize Maynor.

"We wanted to somehow or another through movement get squared up on Maynor and not let a shooter like him shake loose," Pelphrey said. "I thought our guys did a really good job with him. His little runner in the lane is automatic."

Townes Sparks Hogs

Arkansas forward Darian Townes made the most of his 26 minutes. He converted two alley-oop dunks. He drained a hook shot. He constantly got his hands on the ball. He grabbed seven rebounds.

And he might have come through with the play of the game. With Arkansas up 68-60 with 31 seconds left, Ervin missed a free throw. But Townes tapped the ball back to Ervin, who quickly made a layup.

Townes finished with 32 points and 20 rebounds in Arkansas' three games in San Juan.

"I thought he had more than 10 points (Sunday)," Pelphrey said. "It was just spectacular plays, I guess. It seemed like more."


Pelphrey again shook up his starting lineup Sunday. Stefan Welsh started in place of Ervin at point guard, and Charles Thomas was reinserted into the starting group. He joked a bit when asked about the reshuffling. "It was hard to even find five," he said. ... Razorbacks guard Patrick Beverley landed a spot on the all-tournament team. Providence's Geoff McDermott was named the tournament's most valuable player. ... Virginia Commonwealth committed eight turnovers in the game's first 12 minutes but only three the rest of the game.

Arkansas senior Sonny Weems looks to make a pass around VCU's Myk Brown.

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