Welsh Nails Big Shot

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas junior guard Stefan Welsh was surprised that no one guarded him on a key inbounds play during Tuesday night's 67-61 victory over No. 7 Texas.

With the score tied at 57, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey called a 30-second timeout to draw up a play. The intent was for Welsh to throw the ball to freshman point guard Courtney Fortson and isolate Fortson on his defender on the other side of the floor.

But Welsh's defender double-teamed Fortson, leaving Welsh unguarded 40 feet from the basket.

"The man guarding me was almost past halfcourt trying to deny Courtney, so I looked at Mike and nodded my head, threw the ball to the block and stepped in," Welsh said. "There was nobody within 25 yards. I hadn't been shooting the ball too well the whole night, but it felt good when I let it go."

Welsh's 3-pointer put Arkansas up 60-57 with 3:32 left. Pelphrey liked seeing the unspoken communication.

"They communicated (without saying anything), and Stef stepped right in bounds and made a big shot," Pelphrey said.

Are They Top 10?

Texas coach Rick Barnes was asked after Tuesday's game if he thought the Razorbacks were a top 10 team after knocking off a ranked opponent for the second time in eight days. His response?

"In about three months we'll find out," Barnes said.

Teams are wrapping up the nonconference portions of their schedules, meaning conference play and postseason tournaments are getting under way.

Because of that, Barnes said he couldn't identify top 10 teams. But he knows a pretty good indicator.

"The question will be: Can you go on the road and win?" Barnes said. "That's what makes top 10 teams top 10 teams. ... I haven't looked at (the Razorbacks') schedule that much. I don't know where they've been. But that will be the real test at the time. You've got to be able to take it on the road."

Arkansas played two nonconference road games at Missouri State and South Alabama. The Hogs are 1-1.

Fortson Improvement

The freshman from Montgomery, Ala., has had one noticeable flaw during nonconference play: His free-throw shooting. But Fortson had one of his better nights at the foul line against the Longhorns.

Fortson, who entered the game averaging 55.6 percent from the free-throw line, went 7-for-10 (70 percent) Tuesday. It was just the fourth time Fortson shot better than 70 percent from the free throw line.

He credited Pelphrey for his improvement.

"Coach Pelphrey called me into his office before shootaround and showed me on film what I was doing wrong," Fortson said. "On the ones I missed, my hand went out. I focused on that. They fell for me."

Short Of Breath

Pelphrey joked about his reaction to Fortson picking up foul No. 2 only 2 minutes, 51 seconds into Tuesday night's game.

"Courtney getting his second as quick as he did, I think I lost oxygen there," Pelphrey said. "That's something we haven't had to deal with. But Stef came in and did a great job."

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