Weems Returns to Form

Arkansas senior Sonny Weems shakes off his shooting slump with 17 points on Sunday while teammates Darian Townes and Charles Thomas are both named to the SEC's all-tournament squad.

ATLANTA — Arkansas senior Sonny Weems awakened from his recent scoring slump during the first half of Arkansas' 66-57 loss to Georgia on Sunday. The 6-foot-6 native of West Memphis converted six of his eight shots before halftime and finished the first 20 minutes with 13 points.

In fact, Weems may have single-handedly kept Arkansas close in the first half as he tallied half of Arkansas' first-half points.

"I don't think I was rushing any (shots)," Weems said. "But I'm not worried about individual stats. I just wanted to get this championship."

The Razorbacks didn't claim their second SEC Tournament championship on Sunday like Weems had hoped. But his first-half performance surely eased any worries they had about their leading scorer heading into the title game.

Weems had gone four straight games without scoring in double figures, tallying just 22 points in those contests. But his shot looked as pure as it had most of the season in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. His three consecutive makes late in the first half helped Arkansas cut Georgia's lead to 10 points by halftime.

And even though Weems added only four points in the second half, his teammates were encouraged. "We knew he'd come around," Arkansas senior Gary Ervin said.

Backcourt Troubles

Other than Weems, Arkansas guards experienced offensive difficulties Sunday. The Razorbacks connected on just two of their 17 attempts from 3-point range, and sophomore guards Patrick Beverley and Stefan Welsh combined for only two points.

Beverley had bounced back from an up-and-down season to score in double figures for five straight games before Sunday but he shot 1-for-7 against the Bulldogs. Welsh, who had 11 points Friday and 12 points Saturday, missed all three of his shots and didn't score a point.

"I thought some of the (3-pointers) were rushed," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said.

Ervin made four of his nine shots but misfired on all three of his free throw tries.

All-Tourney Team

Two players from Arkansas and two players from Georgia were named to the event's all-tournament team. Bulldogs guards Sundiata Gaines and Terrance Woodbury and Razorbacks post players Charles Thomas and Darian Townes were joined by Alabama's Mykal Riley.

Gaines, who scored 69 points in Georgia's four SEC Tournament victories, had 11 points against Arkansas on 5-of-13 shooting. The senior guard from Jamaica, N.Y., made five field goals in each of the Bulldogs' four games. Thomas recorded 49 points and 20 rebounds, and Townes posted 51 and 18 in Arkansas' three games.

A Bit Bigger Crowd

Attendance was listed at 3,700 for Sunday's championship game. The SEC had told each school it could allow 1,000 people to use their original Georgia Dome tickets Sunday, but that rule appeared to be relaxed a bit.

More Georgia fans found their way into Alexander Memorial Coliseum than Arkansas followers, and that could be because Arkansas simply had a sizable number of fans already leave Atlanta.

Arkansas executive associate athletic director Bill Gray said any Razorback fans with tickets could attend Sunday's game. Saturday's attendance was 2,517.


This year's SEC Tournament was the most competitive ever with all 11 games being decided by 11 points or less and seven games being decided by four points or less. ... Georgia became just the third team to win the SEC Tournament by winning four games — Arkansas (2000) and Auburn (1985) were the others. ... Pelphrey would have received a $100,000 bonus for winning the SEC Tournament.

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