MEN'S BASKETBALL: Weems Gets Aggressive Again

FAYETTEVILLE — When Arkansas swingman Sonny Weems walked off the court at halftime Saturday afternoon, coach John Pelphrey had a stern message for his leading scorer.

"You're too easy to guard right now,'" Pelphrey said.

Pelphrey admitted he wasn't sure if Weems really listened, but the senior proved to be a handful for Ole Miss in the second half of the Razorbacks' 75-69 win in Bud Walton Arena.

Weems led Arkansas with 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 4 assists on Saturday. He only scored nine points after the break, but made a difference with his aggressiveness on a day when his outside shot wasn't falling as often as it had been.

Weems — who entered the day making 13 of 19 shots behind the 3-point arc in the past three games — was just 2 of 9 against the Rebels. He put up seven of those in the first half, prompting Pelphrey to warn Weems to slow down his 3-point pace.

"Sonny has been on such a tear. He has the ability to make those shots," said Pelphrey, whose team was 6-for-25 from 3-point range Saturday. "But he was 1 for 7 from (the 3-point line) and 5 for 6 everywhere else (in the half). That's what he needs to understand."

Said Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy: "I don't think anybody expected him to keep up that pace. ... But as good players do, if you take away one option then they have others."

Weems shied away from the 3-point line in the second half, attempting only two long-range jumpers. Instead, he drove to the hoop, hit the offensive boards and made plays in other ways to help the Razorbacks fight off the Rebels in the second half.

He scored his biggest bucket with 20 seconds left. Weems took the ball to a hoop on a pick-and-roll play with center Darian Townes, hung in the air and laid the ball in the basket to give Arkansas a 72-67 lead.

Pelphrey called it a "big-time play."

"I was just trying to be aggressive," Weems said. "Coach called the pick and roll with me and Darian. I just tried to make something happen. Either I made the shot or somebody else did."

Nothing Free

Arkansas' shooting woes weren't limited to behind the 3-point line.

The Razorbacks were 19-of-32 (59.4 percent) from the free-throw line against Ole Miss, turning in one of their worst performance of the season. Townes (4 of 9) and point guard Gary Ervin (6 of 11) accounted for much of the struggles for Arkansas, which entered the game shooting 69.5 percent from the foul line.

"Some nights it happens," Townes said. "We've got to work on that, get back in the gym and get that going again."

The good news for Arkansas was that it wasn't alone. The Rebels were 12-of-23 from the free-throw line Saturday.

Change of Plans

Ole Miss' 1-10 SEC road record the past two seasons prompted coach Andy Kennedy to change his team's travel plans this week.

The Rebels boarded a plane bound for Fayetteville on Saturday morning and arrived a few hours before tip-off.

Typically, Ole Miss, like most teams, leave a day before the game. But Kennedy planned the day trip to Arkansas in hopes it would help the Rebels shake their road woes. It didn't.

"I wouldn't say it affected us," center Dwayne Curtis said. "But it was something different for all us coming in on gameday."

Washington Starts

Sophomore Michael Washington remained in the starting lineup for the third-straight game Saturday.

Washington, who moved into the starting group with senior Charles Thomas suspended for the Mississippi State game after violating unspecified team rules, scored 6 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 17 minutes. Thomas came off the bench and had 1 point, 3 rebounds and a team-high 5 assists in 16 minutes for the Razorbacks.

Board Battle

Saturday's game pitted the SEC's top rebounding teams and Arkansas won the battle on the boards 47-39.

Guard Patrick Beverley led the Razorbacks with 13 rebounds and Weems added 10. The Razorbacks picked up 16 offensive boards against the Rebels and left an impression on Kennedy.

"I don't know all season if we've given up 16 offensive rebounds," he said. "It wasn't an effort issue. Their size and strength at the basket overwhelmed us at times."

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