Weems' Career Night Leads Hogs

RALEIGH, N.C. — Arkansas center Darian Townes looked up from the stat sheet Friday night, stared at teammate Sonny Weems and was amazed by the numbers.

"You only missed two shots?" Townes said.

Weems could only laugh. The senior might've been in a shooting slump for much of the past three weeks, but saved the best performance of his career when it mattered most in the RBC Center on Friday night.

Weems scored a career-high 31 points in Arkansas' 86-72 win against Indiana in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament. He knocked down 12-of-14 shots, including three 3-pointers, burying any notion he was struggling on offense.

The senior, who was averaging 14.3 points, had been held under 10 points in four of Arkansas' past five games. He had 13 in the first half against the Hoosiers.

"Those games are behind me," Weems said. "I just kept my confidence."

The performance came a few days after Weems suffered a scare. He left Arkansas' practice Tuesday after spraining his left knee. Weems said Thursday he would be 100 percent for the Hoosiers and he proved it Friday night.

In fact, the only sign of an injury was the brace Weems wore on his left knee. He got off to a quick start and helped the Hogs grab a 37-30 halftime lead.

"When Sonny is hot, he gets everybody going," Townes said. "It was great for Sonny to come out strong. He worked on his shot and played great."

Weems' play was just as important in the pivotal second half. He hit two 3-pointers to help the Razorbacks open an 11-point lead in the second half.

Then, after an Indiana run, his thunderous dunk off a turnover pushed the lead back to 10 with five minutes remaining. He was too much for the Hoosiers.

"Sonny Weems played like an All-American," Indiana coach Dan Dakich said. "The more you watched him, the more competitive you saw he was. ... He's a hard-working kid that lives up to what he is because of how hard he plays."

His performance eclipsed the 28 points he scored in Arkansas' loss to South Carolina earlier this season. It also was the second-best offensive performance in Raleigh on Friday, next to Davidson guard Stephen Curry's 40-point effort.

But Weems' hot-shooting performance was one the Razorbacks are hoping he can repeat when they play top-ranked North Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

"It was a pretty special night," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "We all aspire to have anything like that in the NCAA Tournament. And what makes it really cool is if you can do it for your home school. Kudos to Sonny."

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