Bouncing Back

Coach John Pelphrey and the Hogs have tried to shake their two-game funk with an early morning practice and a week to prepare for Saturday's game at LSU.

FAYETTEVILLE — When Arkansas coach John Pelphrey told his team to get ready for practice early Sunday morning, minutes after the team plane landed in Fayetteville following the Georgia loss, senior Sonny Weems said he didn't know what to expect.

But he sure didn't think it was going to be good thing.

"We thought it was going to be all hell," Weems admitted. "Everybody was sweating. We were scared. We were in the dressing room like, ‘Man, what's going to happen?'"

Pelphrey called an impromptu practice at 1:30 in the morning, pushing the Razorbacks back on the court immediately after their lackluster performance against the Bulldogs. But when it was over, Weems said there was nothing scary about it.

Instead, he called it an important hour for the Hogs as they entered the off week with a two-game losing skid.

Arkansas (13-5, 2-2 in Southeastern Conference) is preparing for another road test at LSU (7-11, 0-5) on Saturday, a game that has been viewed as a must-win in the SEC Western Division championship chase. The Razorbacks are two games behind Mississippi State in the division standings in the early going, but guard Patrick Beverley said they're not concerned about the big picture right now.

Instead, he said they're just trying to bounce back after a bad week and credited Sunday's early morning practice with helping matters.

"I didn't think we played up to par at all," Beverley said. "I think (Sunday) was one of our best practices of the whole year. I think our team is understanding what we need to do to win basketball games. If we can correspond the way we practice and put that in basketball games, the sky is the limit for our basketball team."

But that has been the problem for the Razorbacks. Arkansas struggled against South Carolina on its home court Wednesday and some of its familiar road woes re-emerged three days later. After getting off to their best start in SEC play since 2001-02, the Razorbacks now haven't won a game since Jan. 13.

Pelphrey said the Razorbacks have spent much of the week evaluating itself after four SEC games. Arkansas didn't practice Monday and Tuesday because of NCAA rules, but was back on the court Wednesday.

"You've got to kind of keep this train moving a little bit," Pelphrey said. "I think the ability to focus game-to-game is important. You can't look at the whole. You start sitting down and looking at it, trying to evaluate it, it doesn't work. The only thing you can take care of is today's practice and preparation and trying to figure out and learn as much as you can about your opponent and stay focused on those things."

The poor performances against South Carolina and Georgia could result in a lineup shakeup. Pelphrey said nothing has been determined, but added: "There won't be a situation where somebody won't play."

Either way, Weems said the Razorbacks will be ready for LSU.

"We went through this last year," Weems said. "One of the things you've got to do, you've got to pull together. I think it's a different mindset from here on out. It's going to be a different team."


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