Sutton Returns to Watch Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE — Eddie Sutton may have been at Arkansas for 11 seasons, but the legendary coach never sat in the stands for a game in Bud Walton Arena until Tuesday.

Sutton, his wife and son, Sean, were among the 19,102 in attendance for the Razorbacks' 67-61 win against Texas.

"That's the first time I've ever seen a game here," Sutton said. "I've only been here twice. It's great. It's a wonderful place, a great arena, the atmosphere is very, very good and the fans are still just as active as when we played in Barnhill."

Sutton, who coached the Razorbacks from 1975-85, said he was invited by Arkansas coach John Pelphrey and assistant Rob Evans to attend a game and chose Tuesday. He spoke to the team in shootaround and talked about the rivalry.

"They knew the name," Pelphrey said of his team. "I don't know if they knew the face and I wanted them to."

Sutton, who won 804 games in his Hall of Fame career at Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Creighton and San Francisco, was introduced to the crowd in the second half and received a loud ovation. He also spent nearly all of halftime shaking hands with plenty of familiar faces.

"It's always fun to get back here and see some of my old friends and former players and see a lot of people," said Sutton, whose last trip to the arena was as Oklahoma State's coach during its 73-58 win against Arkansas in 2003. "It brings back a lot of wonderful memories."

Fortson Down, Then Up

Arkansas point guard Courtney Fortson survived one of the worst stretches of his young career during the first half.

The freshman picked up two fouls and turned the ball over three times in the first three minutes of the game, landing himself a spot on the bench. When he returned, it wasn't for long. Fortson turned the ball over the next time he touched it and went back to the bench, where Pelphrey shouted at him.

When the half was over, Fortson had 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 turnovers in 11 minutes.

"My adrenaline was too high, obviously," Fortson said. "A lot of players would let it mess up their game, but I just forgot about it."

Fortson proved it after the break by leading Arkansas' charge after the break. Fortson finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 turnovers in the win.

Seeing Red

Did you catch the coat Pelphrey was wearing Tuesday?

How could you miss it?

Pelphrey surprised everyone in the arena when he walked out to the court sporting a red coat.

"I just wanted everybody to know what side I was on," Pelphrey said.

The players were asked about the red coat after the game and said they were impressed with Pelphrey's style.

"I think it was pretty nice," Fortson said.

Said guard Stefan Welsh: "Pregame, I had to pop his collar."

Henry Back in Action

Arkansas forward Jason Henry, who missed the past three games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, returned to the floor Tuesday night just as Pelphrey anticipated.

Henry went 0-for-2 from the floor and grabbed one rebound in five minutes in the first half. Henry, who wore a protective sleeve on his right knee, didn't play in the second half.

Say What?

If it were up to Texas coach Rick Barnes, the Razorbacks would not be in the Southeastern Conference.

"This school should be in the Big 12," Barnes said after the game. "I don't know why they're not."

Arkansas, of course, ended its long run in the Southwest Conference when it jumped to the SEC in 1991-92. But Barnes said he would love to see the Razorbacks in the same league as the Longhorns, Oklahoma and Kansas.

In particular, Barnes said he believes Arkansas could help bring balance to the Big 12 in the North Division.

He's Got Spirit

Sutton wasn't the only famous face in the arena Tuesday.

Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams was standing in the front row of the student section. Williams wore a red Arkansas basketball jersey, a black cape and a homemade headband.

Williams is coming off an impressive sophomore season in coach Bobby Petrino's offense. He led the Razorbacks in receiving with 61 catches for 723 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories