Hogs Continue To Struggle

FAYETTEVILLE — With his team in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey made it clear Monday that there's one area in particular he'd like to see his team improve on down the stretch.

Reading defenses.

Pelphrey said it's become a common problem for both his guards and low-post players to find themselves stuck and unsure where to pass the ball after driving to the basket.

This has led, Pelphrey says, to his players either missing an open teammate, not taking the right shot or getting blocked around the paint. The Razorbacks struggled with reading defenses again in Saturday's 82-78 overtime loss at South Carolina.

"There was a little bit of progress there in the middle of that second half, but it's an area that's a little bit annoying to me," Pelphrey said Monday afternoon. "Because to me, that's just having a good feel for playing ball. I want my team to be better at that."

Pelphrey said there was a stretch in the second half against the Gamecocks when he saw that his players knew how to attack the holes in South Carolina's defense. They passed the ball around and found guard Rotnei Clarke for good looks.

But apparently there hasn't been enough of that.

"That's one of the big things that we need to learn to do. Coach Pelphrey has been stressing (reading defenses better)," Clarke said. "When we've got a whole team on us in the paint and when it's time to kick it out, we've got to be able to read that."

Not-So Perfect 10

As Pelphrey pointed out, Arkansas point guard Courtney Fortson came within two rebounds of recording another triple-double, but it wasn't the type that players want.

The freshman scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but he also had a career-high 10 turnovers — including a critical one with six seconds remaining in regulation.

"(The Gamecocks) gave him a lot of attention all the way up the floor, off pick-and-rolls," Pelphrey said. "They trapped him some in the backcourt in the second half with their press."

Fortson has struggled with his decision making and playing under control at times this season, and he had difficulty doing both against the Gamecocks.

He committed four turnovers in only six minutes of playing time in the first half, and he was hampered down the stretch after turning his left ankle in a collision with South Carolina's Zam Fredrick.

"They play good defense, but you know, (with) some passes I could have made a better pass. And of course, some of the turnovers came when I had my ankle taped," Fortson said. "They play great (defense), though."

Less Playing Time

Arkansas forward Michael Sanchez played a season-low nine minutes against South Carolina, but the reason wasn't necessarily because of foul trouble.

Pelphrey indicated that Sanchez's lack of production contributed to his limited playing time.

Though he started his 23rd game this season, the Springdale Har-Ber graduate scored only two points and grabbed two rebounds in his shortest stint since recording 13 minutes in an 89-80 win over Austin Peay on Dec. 17.

Sanchez played only seven minutes in the first half after picking up his third foul, and the redshirt freshman saw only two minutes after halftime.

"We were looking for some different things in terms of performance," Pelphrey said of Sanchez.

On The Mend

Pelphrey couldn't hide the fact that he's still being bothered by bronchitis. As soon as he sat down with reporters, he coughed loudly for several moments and had to stop himself during the news conference to cough or sniffle some more.

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