NORTH LITTLE ROCK - University of Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey raved about the Alltel Arena crowd his team played before on Saturday.
So did the players, who clearly thought it helped the Razorbacks (11-1) get past North Texas 86-75 before 15,687 fans in a classic trap game between ones with Oklahoma and Texas.
"It was just unbelievable," Arkansas freshman guard Courtney Fortson said. "Just as good as Bud Walton. I was surprised by the crowd. They were as loud as they can be and they helped us with the victory."
Razorback junior guard Stefan Welsh had played two other times in Alltel, but never before a crowd as full and as energized as Saturday's as the UA squad extended its winning streak to 9 straight.
"It was definitely the sixth man on the court," Arkansas junior guard Stefan Welsh said. "We're still young and we are still trying to find our way. The fans are always going to be a part of our victories."
Arkansas roared back from an 8-point first half deficit and eventually landed a 21-2 run to put the game away in the second half with the crowd ramping it up as the Razorbacks did.
"When (the crowd was) loud when we were on defense late in the shot clock, I think it altered some shots," Welsh added. "Our fans are just some of the passionate in America. If they continue to cheer for us every night – which I know they will- the sky is the limit for this basketball team."
Arkansas has yet another tough challenge on Tuesday when No. 8 Texas invades Bud Walton Arena for an 8:05 p.m. game that will be televised nationally by ESPN2.
"Texas is a good team, but we are not going to get caught up in the pre-game hype," Fortson said. "We're just going to go out and play hard just like any other game, so go ahead and get your hardhats and lunch pails because it is going to be a good game."
(Matt Jones also contributed to this story)
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