Weems Overcomes Slow Start Against Baylor

DALLAS — Arkansas forward Sonny Weems didn't have the greatest start on Saturday against Baylor.

At the beginning of the game, Weems turned the ball over on Arkansas' first possession when he threw the ball away on a bad pass. Later, Weems missed a 3-point attempt, causing Arkansas coach John Pelphrey to immediately sit the 6-foot-6 senior on the bench.

Pelphrey said he didn't really have a choice in the matter.

"Sonny has had a tough couple of days," Pelphrey said. "He's had an emotional thing going on at home; he's had to deal with the loss of family. I was concerned coming in.

"The first substitution was just to get him a blow, just to let him get his legs underneath him. He's been through a very emotional thing."

Weems later came back into the game and responded in a big way for the Razorbacks (11-3), scoring a game-high 21 points, including three 3-pointers, to help Arkansas beat Baylor 85-78 in the American Airlines Center.

Toward halftime and into the second half, Weems hustled more than he has recently and took more shots, usually from either side of the baseline.

Weems shot 7 of 11 (64 percent) from the floor despite having five turnovers.

"We were confident, we came in confident," said Weems, averaging 11.3 points per game this season. "We knew this was going to be a tough game with (Baylor's) guards and our guards.

"I started off slow a little bit, but in the second half I picked it up a little bit."

Weems' 21 points tied a season-high as he also had 21 points against Northwestern (La.) State on Dec. 19.

"It's just a big win for us," Weems said. "Last year, we had trouble on the road. So getting this victory is a big win, especially with us beginning to start (Southeastern Conference) play."

Thomas' Big Night

Charles Thomas had a big night for the Razorbacks.

Besides scoring 17 points and coming through with several put-backs under the basket, Thomas finished with a season-high 10 rebounds.

And even when he wasn't scoring inside the paint, Thomas — averaging 9.5 points this season — hit a couple jumpers late in the game to help Arkansas rally from a nine-point deficit.

"We feel like we came out and took care of business," said Thomas, who also took four charges. "Coach Pelphrey said a win like this in a hostile environment would help us come together as a team, and I think it certainly did that for us tonight."

Besides Thomas, sophomore guard Patrick Beverley had a season-high four 3-pointers in the game, finishing with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Crazy Pelphrey

At times this season, Pelphrey has shown his wild side on Arkansas' bench.

From angry faces to yelling as loudly as he can during games, Pelphrey has exhibited all kinds of expressions to his players — and to referees, too.

On Saturday, Pelphrey — he was perhaps a little more animated with the Razorbacks than during other times of the season — was given a technical foul midway through the first half after yelling at referee J.B. Caldwell.

"I wasn't trying to get (the technical)," said Pelphrey, who has received four technical fouls this year. "I didn't agree with the play. Yeah, I wouldn't say I was vicious or anything. I think I was conducting myself in the right way."

Weems said seeing Pelphrey so animated on the bench gets the team fired up in certain situations.

"It helps a lot when your head coach is into the game like that," Weems said. "It just makes us feel good inside, knowing that coach has your back and is always there with you."

Extra Points

• During halftime, Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw introduced new Baylor football coach Art Briles, who was hired on Nov. 27. Briles came from Houston, where he led the Cougars to four bowl games in his five years as coach.

• Baylor shot just 15 percent (3 of 20) from 3-point range Saturday. The Bears shot 40.6 percent from 3-point range this season, at times relying on the long ball to help them win games.

• Arkansas has now won 20 of its last 21 games in Dallas, including a victory over Texas Tech in 2006. The Razorbacks also lead the all-time series against Baylor 94-46.

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