Texas Southern Presents New Looks

FAYETTEVILLE — The thought of being pressed Wednesday night by Texas Southern, as suggested by Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, prompted a chuckle from junior guard Stefan Welsh.

"I don't know if that's a good idea," Welsh said. "We have one of the better young point guards in the country, I believe, in Courtney Fortson. He's a very hard guy to contain. You have guys like myself and Marcus Britt that can break a press, so I don't know if that's a good idea.

"They'll press and we'll press and we'll see who gets who first."

That backcourt pressure provides one of two new defensive looks the Razorbacks will encounter when visited by the winless Lions, who play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Texas Southern also employs a 3-2 zone, unlike any defense the Hogs have seen this season.

The Lions also figure to challenge the Razorbacks inside, as they suit up 10 players standing at least 6-foot-7. These factors, and others, had Pelphrey sounding cautious during his Monday news conference.

"After being down (in the second half) the other night (against Florida A&M) and having the chance to absorb some scores from around the country, we all know you better respect every opponent that walks in here," Pelphrey said.

And while the Lions are 0-6, they have lost close games to Texas El-Paso, Northern Iowa, Marquette and Mercer.

"You can't take anybody lightly, just like the last game," freshman guard Rotnei Clarke said. "Anybody can beat anyone on any given night."

Sloppy Play

Arkansas sports a 4-1 record, but Pelphrey said a glance at his team's numbers doesn't exactly bring a smile to his face.

"There probably aren't too any areas of that stat sheet where you say it's where it needs to be," Pelphrey said.

Turnovers and free throws are two main areas of concern. The Razorbacks are averaging 12 assists and 14 turnovers per game and are shooting only 62.6 percent from the free throw line.

Pelphrey said that the turnovers could be attributed to Arkansas' youth but that the free throw woes were unacceptable.

"I'm screaming and yelling at them (about free throws)," Pelphrey said. "It's so mental. ... (They need to) have the courage to go up there and make them."

Better Britt

Sophomore guard Marcus Britt gave Arkansas 24 valuable, career-high minutes in its victory Saturday over Florida A&M, displaying a variety of ways he can help the Hogs.

Britt scored nine points on 4 of 7 shooting, including a crucial 3-pointer in the second half.

"Marcus has been really good," Pelphrey said. "He's steady. He's obviously always had the SEC skill to defend. He brings confidence out there for us. He helps us play well."

Last Meeting

Fans probably remember what happened the last time the Razorbacks faced Texas Southern. As defending national champions in 1995, the Hogs nearly lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed to the Lions.

Dwight Stewart led the Razorbacks with 21 points, including seven 3-pointers, and Corliss Williamson had 19 in the contest at Austin, Texas. Arkansas went on to beat Syracuse, Memphis, Virginia and North Carolina before losing to UCLA in the title game.

Wednesday's Ticket

Texas Southern at Arkansas

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville

TV: KHOG (Cox Ch. 7)

Radio: KEZA-FM 107.9, KKEG-FM 92.1, KUOA-FM 105.3, KUOA-AM 1290

Records: Texas Southern Tigers, 0-6; Arkansas Razorbacks, 4-1

Coaches: Texas Southern, Robert Moreland (28th season); Arkansas, John Pelphrey (second season)

Series: Arkansas leads 3-0

Last Meeting: Arkansas won 79-78 in the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas

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