Beverley Fights, Kicks, Claws Hogs to Win

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley, all 6-foot-1, 180-pounds of him, was probably wrapped in ice bags and heat pads late Wednesday night.

He had to have been. There's no telling how many floor burns, nicks, bumps, scratches and little pains the gutsy guard accumulated in the Razorbacks' 78-58 win against Mississippi State in Bud Walton Arena. But there had to be a lot. And they had to sting, right?

"You're human," Beverley confirmed with a smile. "You've got to (get sore)."

No one would question Beverley's pain. Some might wonder the validity of the first part of his answer, though. Is he really human? It's a good question, considering the pint-sized Beverley turned in, probably, his best rough-and-tumble effort when the Razorbacks needed it most against the SEC Western Division leaders.

He scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out 4 assists and collected 2 steals in a game-high 38 minutes. But that doesn't explain the half of it.

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey has referred to Beverley as a pit bull.

Want to know why? Let's go to the replay.

It started on the first possession when Beverley drove the ball right into the middle of MSU's defense. At center Jarvis Varnado. You know, the 6-foot-10 shot blocker who has affectionately earned the nickname, "Swat." The sophomore, who has quickly become the most intimidating defensive player in the Southeastern Conference — if not the nation.

Swat could only get a smack on Beverley, picking up a foul and putting the guard on the free-throw line. It was the first of two fouls for Varnado in six minutes. Beverley wasn't responsible for the second, but it helped push the long, lanky center to the bench for the half. It's no surprise the Razorbacks were able to reel off 43 points as a result.

"Coach Pelphrey told us to go right at him," Beverley said shrugging his shoulders, as if hanging around the perimeter was an absurdity. "We did and it made things easier for us."

But the guard didn't just show off his fearlessness on the first play.

He went inside again and again. He dove on the floor for loose balls again and again.

He wrestled with MSU point guard Jamont Gordon again and again.

He fought off big players for even bigger rebounds ... you guessed it ... again and again.

Scrapping with the Bulldogs wasn't even enough for Beverley. So at one point late in the game, he wrestled teammate Michael Washington for a rebound. Beverley won the battle, of course, knocking the 6-foot-10 power forward to the floor. It was his 10th board.

And, probably, his 10th bruise.

Beverley's play helped Arkansas turn the tables on the physical Bulldogs.

It was Mississippi State which reeled off nine straight wins with grit, guts and hard-nosed defense. The Bulldogs were leading the league in scoring defense (61.3 points) and blocked shots (8.6). They were second in rebounding, too, pushing opponents all over the court.

But it was Arkansas that drew charges, jumped on the floor for loose balls and harassed the Bulldogs. They gripped, they grabbed, they grappled all night.

The performance was so rugged that Pelphrey referred to the opening minutes as a rugby match. He also complimented the Hogs for their toughness, saying Arkansas' goal entering the game was to "dive on the floor more, take more charges, rebound more."

Beverley took care of that.

The guard grabbed the basketball when the game ended and found the energy to thrust his index finger in the air in the far corner of the court. Rhodes grabbed Beverley and gave him a congratulatory hug. Then he retreated to the Razorbacks' locker room before entering the interview room for a few rounds of questions after the win.

Questions like, how does his body feel after a game like this? Sore, of course.

"Like coach says, ‘You can't burn it up on both ends of the stick," Beverley said. "So I've got to go home and get my rest."

After all, he's got only two days until the next game. And he has no plans to lighten up.

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