Pelphrey Expects ‘Desperate' Gamecocks

FAYETTEVILLE — Appears like a great time to catch South Carolina. The Gamecocks travel to Bud Walton Arena to play Arkansas on Wednesday night, bringing a three-game losing skid along with them.

They lost at home to North Carolina-Asheville. They dropped a seven-point contest at No. 16 Vanderbilt. And they got destroyed last Saturday in a 24-point home defeat to No. 6 Tennessee.

But first-year Arkansas coach John Pelphrey views the Gamecocks' predicament differently. In his mind, the Razorbacks aren't seeing South Carolina at an opportune time.

"Certainly with them being 0-2 (in the SEC), I think it's going to do nothing but bring them closer together, have them more focused and make them more desperate in terms of wanting to win," Pelphrey said. "We have to make sure we handle everything that's happened to us, get focused and find a way to come out and do it again."

The Gamecocks are led by sophomore guard Devan Downey, a transfer from Cincinnati who averages 19.0 points per game, and junior guard Zam Fredrick (16.0). South Carolina does own a quality win over Providence, which defeated Arkansas at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

South Carolina coach Dave Odom said his team needed to perform far better Wednesday night to even have a chance of knocking off Arkansas. The Gamecocks' fight lately, or lack thereof, has bothered him.

"I was sorely disappointed with how we played the last two games," Odom said on Monday's SEC basketball coach teleconference. "We didn't answer the bell."

Home Sweet Home

Odom mentioned the value of Bud Walton Arena while on the conference call.

"They have a tremendous home court and crowd there," Odom said.

Pelphrey evidently feels the same way. At his Monday news conference, Pelphrey stated he felt the season-high crowd of 19,153 fueled the Razorbacks throughout overtime.

If the game was played elsewhere, Pelphrey said, the outcome may have been different.

"Our fans, our building, played a part in us being able to hang on there in overtime," Pelphrey said. "If it wasn't for them, with the extra energy and passion, I would've been concerned with the outcome.

"So hopefully that atmosphere will be a part of the game (Wednesday), not that South Carolina hasn't played in hostile environments."

Another sizable crowd is expected considering Wednesday's game will not be aired on TV. Arkansas' season-ending game against Auburn on March 8 in Fayetteville is the only other Razorback contest that won't be televised.

New Haircut

Steven Hill isn't the only Razorback sporting a new hairstyle. Some people in attendance Sunday or watching on TV may have noticed the strip of hair forming down the middle of Charles Thomas' head. No particular reason for the change in look, Thomas said.

In a week or two, the "Fro-hawk" — as Gary Ervin called it — should be highly noticeable.

"I used to wear the headband sometimes, but that never worked out too good," Thomas said. "It went over my eyes. So I just wanted to try something new."



WHEN: 7:05 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

RECORDS: South Carolina, 8-8, 0-2 Southeastern Conference; Arkansas, 13-3, 2-0

SERIES: Arkansas leads 12-7 (6-2 in Fayetteville)

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