Razorbacks Ending Up On Both Sides Of Spurts

FAYETTEVILLE — Sonny Weems noticed the crowd both times, but not with his eyes. During each of Arkansas' two scoring spurts Wednesday night against Missouri, Weems didn't look at the worked-up fans inside Bud Walton Arena.

The senior small forward didn't need to. He could hear them. He could feel them.

And as those runs progressed, as the decibel level rose, as Arkansas forced more turnovers and converted more dunks and layups, Weems and his teammates used them as fuel.

"The way the crowd gets when we get going like that is crazy," Weems said. "It just gets louder and louder, and it makes you want to go harder."

The Razorbacks are quickly realizing the value of stringing together turnovers and the points that result from them. Arkansas didn't always benefit from such spurts Wednesday, though. The Hogs (5-1) gutted out a 94-91 victory in a game that produced 12 ties, 21 lead changes and four game-changing scoring runs.

Arkansas had two momentum-swinging spurts, as did Missouri. Call it just another chapter in the Razorbacks' seasonlong crash course of new coach John Pelphrey's system. Of course, the presence of Missouri coach and former Razorback assistant Mike Anderson on the opposing sideline contributed to the game's frantic nature.

"It's not one of those things that you try to intentionally do, but we understand that in this style of play, there are going to be runs, there are going to swings in the basketball game," Pelphrey said at his Thursday news conference.

Pelphrey did express discouragement at Missouri's final spurt. Arkansas' last spurt, a 12-0 run spanning just 3 minutes, 7 seconds, gave the Razorbacks a chance to pull away from the Tigers. The crowd went ballistic when Arkansas took a 75-68 lead after two hooks from Charles Thomas, two Missouri turnovers, an 8-footer by Stefan Welsh and a layup by Patrick Beverley.

But the Razorbacks couldn't keep piling on points, and the Tigers used a 9-2 run to take a late 88-87 lead.

"We got some separation, got up seven, and I think Patrick had a 3 off the break that could've taken it to double figures," Pelphrey said. "Darian had one inside, brought it down and got it knocked away. I think we had a turnover.

"Anyway, we had three chances there to get it out even farther. We couldn't do it. And next thing you know, Missouri's got it back and they're taking the lead."

Arkansas still won, getting a crucial 3-pointer from Beverley and key free throws down the stretch. And right now, that's enough for Pelphrey.

"It took a lot of heart and courage," Pelphrey said. "They got challenged, and they kept trying to respond."



SATURDAY'S TICKET

ORAL ROBERTS AT ARKANSAS

WHEN: 2:05 p.m. TV: None

WHERE: Bud Walton Arena

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

COACHES: Arkansas, John Pelphrey (5-1, 1st season; 85-68 overall, 6 seasons); Oral Roberts, Scott Sutton (4-2, 9th season; 148-104, 9 seasons)

SERIES: Arkansas 8-2 (5-0 in Fayetteville)



KEY SPURTS IN WEDNESDAY'S GAME

Missouri Runs

• 10-0 (From a 10-6 deficit to a 16-10 lead in 2:06)

• 9-2 (From an 85-79 deficit to an 88-87 lead in 1:57)

Arkansas Runs

• 8-0 (From a 21-13 deficit to 21-21 in 1:41)

• 12-0 (From a 68-63 deficit to a 75-68 lead in 3:07)

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