Fouls Forcing Pelphrey To Run Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas basketball practices come with a disclaimer these days for John Pelphrey's Razorbacks: Be prepared to take off running at any time. Finally fed up with his Hogs' excessive fouling, Arkansas' first-year coach started resorting to foul-by-foul punishments last week in practice.

Any unnecessary foul gets greeted by the shrill of Pelphrey's whistle and either the point of a finger or a simple yell.

"I don't blame him at this point," Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh said. "We have to learn how to play smart somehow."

Pelphrey identified the problem early in the season, after Arkansas committed at least 19 fouls in three of its first four games. But despite harping on his players for most of the season, he has seen little improvement. The Hogs have committed at least 17 fouls in their last six games.

In five of those six contests, their opponents have shot more free throws than them, and Pelphrey is sick of seeing that discrepancy.

"I think more so it's mental toughness," Pelphrey said. "We don't have any excuses for fouling. ... (Saturday), we had three (minutes) and change left. We called a timeout, had a set defense, all had a chance to catch our breath and we went out and fouled."

That foul by Welsh resulted in two free throws by Kentucky's Ramel Bradley, two points that drew the Wildcats to within 53-52. It was the kind of foul the Razorbacks know they shouldn't be committing but still have anyway.

Arkansas senior Sonny Weems said the fouls aren't coming from being too aggressive. They happen because of laziness, because of stupidity, Weems said.

"Just reaching and pushing people in the back," Weems said. "It's just something we have to fix. We just have to be careful."

Seven-foot center Steven Hill thinks the Hogs aren't doing the "little things" on defense, resulting in fouls.

"We have to move our feet and be smart," Hill said. "Sometimes you make a mistake and you then do a quick foul. We just have to be smart and focused and let bad plays go."

If they don't, in practice at least, all Pelphrey has to do is blow his whistle.



WHEN: 7:05 p.m. TV: Raycom (Cox Ch. 7)

WHERE: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

RECORDS: Arkansas, 18-8, 7-5 Southeastern Conference; Alabama, 14-13, 3-9

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

COACHES: Alabama, Mark Gottfried (14-13, 10th season; 263-145, 13 seasons); Arkansas, John Pelphrey (18-8, 1st season; 98-75, 6 seasons).

SERIES: Arkansas leads 25-20 (Alabama leads 13-5 in Tuscaloosa)

LAST MEETING: Arkansas beat Alabama 71-67 in overtime on Jan. 13 in Fayetteville

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