BASKETBALL: Fouls Add Up To Another Loss

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Arkansas coach John Pelphrey's primary message to the Razorbacks' heading into Wednesday's game at Alabama was to cut out the number of careless fouls they've committed in the past couple weeks.

His players didn't really listen in the 59-56 loss in Coleman Coliseum.

Arkansas continued its sloppy ways on both ends of the floor, committing 22 fouls against the Crimson Tide. It was the fourth time in the past five games the Hogs have topped the 20-foul mark. All of them have come in road losses and the latest left Pelphrey searching for more answers after the game.

"It hurt us a lot at critical times," Pelphrey said. "On plays it doesn't need to be on. Our focus and intensity, and playing smart basketball, we didn't do that."

The foul problems were just one of a handful of woes on an ugly night. Fouls came in all forms and fashions against the Crimson Tide — player control fouls, hand checks and reach-ins. The more Arkansas was whistled, the more frustrated Pelphrey grew.

At one point, guard Gary Ervin committed a foul in the second half and tried to plead his case with an official. But Pelphrey looked at the senior and said: "You did it. ... It was stupid."

A little later, center Steven Hill committed a foul in the post and, as the senior walked off the floor, Pelphrey shouted: "Stop fouling."

The non-stop fouling was particularly maddening for the Razorbacks considering Pelphrey resorted to extreme measures this week. He ran the Hogs in practice when they committed fouls.

Players said the punishment was well deserved, but none of it seemed to carry over into Wednesday's road game. And none of them could figure out why the fouls continue to pile up.

"It's real frustrating," forward Sonny Weems said. "It's not fouls where we're not letting people score. It's dumb fouls. Reaching and hacking and all that. ... Stop reaching."

The only good news for the Razorbacks was that Alabama has been one of the nation's worst free throw-shooting teams.

So the Crimson Tide didn't cash in on Arkansas' foul troubles as much as it could have, going 13-of-24 from the free-throw line.

But it was more than enough to beat the Razorbacks.

"It's real frustrating that we get fouls," center Darian Townes said. "That's almost like a turnover. They either make one-and-one or they get two shots. It stops the clock and they're getting points.

"We've got to stop fouling."

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