BASKETBALL: Foul Trouble Plagues Beverley

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said earlier this week that the Razorbacks didn't have enough backcourt depth to survive foul trouble.

But Arkansas had to deal with it during its 93-71 loss to fourth-ranked Tennessee on Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Patrick Beverley — the team's leader in minutes played (33.6) and rebounds (7.1) — was strapped with foul trouble in the first half and struggled against the Volunteers. He finished with 5 points and 1 rebound and played a season-low, 23 minutes.

"It hurt us a lot," guard Sonny Weems said about Beverley's absence. "Patrick is a great player. When he's going, the team is going. When he's out, we kind of struggled on offense a little bit."

Beverley picked up his first foul in the opening minute and went to the bench. He came back on the floor a little later and, at the 13:15 mark, collected his second foul and returned to the bench for the rest of the half.

Without Beverley, Pelphrey had to lean on guards Stefan Welsh and Gary Ervin. In addition, freshman Marcus Britt, who had logged 26 minutes in the first eight Southeastern Conference games, played nine minutes.

The foul trouble helped end a four-game stretch in which the 6-foot-1 guard had grabbed 10 or more rebounds.

Beverley, who was leading the SEC in rebounding in conference games (11), tied his season-low for rebounds against the Volunteers. Beverley also pulled down just one rebound in the loss to Appalachian State on Dec. 22.

"Obviously he didn't have a very good game," Pelphrey said. "Obviously, foul trouble did bother him in that first half. The rest of it you have to give Tennessee credit for."

Beverley Not Alone

Arkansas and Tennessee combined to commit 49 fouls in the rugged game, including 27 in the first half. The Hogs had a season-high 27 fouls and the Volunteers added 22.

The nonstop whistle-blowing also led to Pelphrey's fifth technical foul after he slammed his right hand against the scorer's table when forward Charles Thomas was called for an offensive foul with 12:03 left in the game.

"I'm not going to comment on those guys," Pelphrey said when asked about the officials after the game.

Thomas was the first to foul out, collecting his fifth later in the game. Welsh joined him with 3.6 seconds remaining. Two other Razorbacks (Michael Washington and Steven Hill) and two Vols (Brian Williams and Wayne Chism) finished with four fouls.

"They're a very physical team and we're a very physical team," Weems said. "They gambled a lot on defense and we gambled a lot. That's why a lot of fouls were called."

Free Throw Woes

Arkansas shot 28 free throws, but struggled from the foul line for the second straight game.

The Razorbacks made 11 of 20 free throws in the first half, a big reason they trailed 43-38 at the break. Center Darian Townes and Ervin had the biggest problems for the Hogs, combining to make just 5 of 13.

"That's what we did a lot of, getting to the free throw line," Ervin said. "The thing we didn't do is make them."

Tennessee, on the other hand, made its first 11 free throws and was 14-of-17 in the half. The Vols were 27 of 37 from the foul line in the game. Arkansas was 18 of 29.

3-point shortage

Tennessee entered Wednesday's game leading the SEC in 3-pointers attempted (26.3) and made (9.6) a game. But the Vols were subdued behind the arc in the first half, shooting a modest, 3-for-8 from 3-point range.

Tennessee made up for it early in the second half, knocking down 3-pointers on two of its first three possessions. They also picked up a three-point play in the opening minutes, part of an 11-0 run that helped the Volunteers extend their five-point lead to 54-39.

Tennessee finished 8 of 18 from 3-point range.

Where's Chris?

Tennessee guard Chris Lofton, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, was 2-for-8 from the floor with six points.

The senior entered the game on a scoring tear, averaging 22.2 points in the past six. He also had scored 30 or more points twice in three games against the Hogs.

"That's just one of their pieces," Ervin said. "Everybody knows he's the reigning SEC player of the year and he's going to get a lot of attention, but he has other teammates that can step in."

Like guard JaJuan Smith, who tied his career-high with 32 points. Smith was 6-for-6 from 3-point range.

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