Welsh Wants "W"

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Stefan Welsh had one of his best offensive outings in weeks Wednesday night.

But the junior said he didn't care about his point total, field goal percentage or 3-point shooting. He was more consumed with the 74-72 loss to the Volunteers.

"It doesn't matter. It doesn't even feel good," Welsh said. "It's nice to finally knock down some shots, but it doesn't feel good. I'd trade all 22 points for a ‘W.' At the end of the day, the ‘W' is what counts. The ‘W' is what extends our season. ... I'd rather have zero points with a ‘W' than 22 points with an ‘L.' That's a no-brainer."

Welsh recorded his fourth outing of 20 points or more by making 8 of 14 shots. He was one of four players that combined to score 70 of the Razorbacks' 72 points.

It was the first time Welsh had scored 20 or more points since the 67-61 win against Texas on Jan. 6.

"Stefan stepped up and played really well," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "He shot it really well."

But Welsh was frustrated about the miss on his final shot against the Vols, which came in the closing seconds.

The guard had a chance to tie the game when he drove hard to the hoop after Tennessee's Bobby Maze scored the go-ahead bucket. However, Welsh's shot fell short and forward Michael Washington missed a tip-in at the buzzer.

"Stefan did what he was supposed to do," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "He got himself in the middle of the floor and drove it to the basket and got right to the front of the rim. That's good execution."



New Lineup

Pelphrey shook up his lineup Wednesday, starting guard Jason Henry in place of forward Michael Sanchez.

Henry, who started for the first time, joined Welsh, Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke in Arkansas' four-guard lineup against the Vols.

Henry scored 9 points in the first half on 4 of 7 shooting, but slowed down after the break. He scored 2 points on 1 of 7 shooting in the second half.

Henry finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds.

"I thought he did good," Pelphrey said. "He rebounds the basketball. ... We need rebounding."



Road Warriors

Tennessee improved to 3-0 on the road in Southeastern Conference play with the win.

Pearl said he was particularly impressed with his team's performance in Bud Walton Arena. Tennessee now has won two straight in Fayetteville, after beating the Hogs 83-72 in former coach Stan Heath's final season.

"This one here, it's got a chance to catapult us because it could've gone either way," Pearl said. "It's the wins that the teams that are going to compete for the championship have to get."



He'll Take It

Fortson found a way to snap out of his 3-point shooting slump — even if it came in an unconventional way.

The guard threw up a long range shot off an inbound pass with the shot clock running out midway through the second half. The ball bounced off the backboard and into the bucket, helping the Hogs tie the game at 44-44.

"Desperation is the only word I can think of with that shot," Fortson said. "I saw two seconds on the clock and Stef passed it to me and I threw it up and it went in."

It was just the second 3-pointer Fortson has made in SEC play. He was 1-for-21 from 3-point range in six games.



Program Changer

Pearl, who tried to recruit Fortson to Tennessee, called Arkansas' guard a "program changer" after the game.

He said Fortson was nearly impossible to guard after scoring 19 points and handing out 6 assists Wednesday.

"He's a nightmare to cover," Pearl said. "I had (forward) Tyler Smith, (forward) J.P. Prince, and our centers guarding him. We had all our big guys guarding him. I kept our guards so far from him it wasn't even funny. Because the closer he gets to the basket, the better he is.

"And he still had a pretty good night."



Tip-Ins

Clarke didn't score for the third time in seven SEC games. He was 0-for-6 from the field. ... Arkansas lost for the first time this season when scoring more than 70 points. The Razorbacks had been 10-0. ... Freshman forwards Brandon Moore and Andre Clark were both dressed and available for Wednesday's game, but did not play against the Vols.

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