Razorbacks Staying Focused

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said Monday he didn't think his team would experience a hangover effect from its weekend full of "Celebration of a Championship" festivities.

He didn't expect the Razorbacks to show up tired for practice or to feel fully satisfied by their first win in 31 days, Sunday's 89-67 win over Georgia.

"My focus is now we have one (win)," Pelphrey said. "(Now) let's try to get two. We don't have many games left."

The first of Arkansas' last two regular-season games takes place Wednesday night, when Ole Miss visits Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks will try for back-to-back victories for the first time since finishing their 10-game winning streak with wins over North Texas and Texas.

Junior guard Stefan Welsh doesn't doubt for a second that Arkansas will show up confidently Wednesday night. After all, he's rarely come away disappointed with the Hogs' approach during a strenuous 2-12 SEC season.

"This is a very special group," Welsh said. "Everyone stays focused on the task at hand. ... We didn't expect to be down as long as we were. But now that we got a win, we feel like we can build on it and carry it into the SEC Tournament."

Healthier Welsh

Welsh said he felt "back like myself" Sunday for the first time since suffering a turf toe injury against Tennessee on Feb. 4. Welsh never missed any court time the past month, but he spent plenty of hours in rehab with Arkansas head basketball trainer Dave England.

"I knew my team needed me out there," said Welsh, who hurt his right foot. "I tried to play through it. It's still nagging me, but not as much as it was."

His production dipped over that time, as he missed 31 of his 40 shots the past four games, and Pelphrey even started Welsh off the bench in Sunday's win.

Welsh produced 14 points, five steals and four assists, putting together a complete effort as he did in two other games he started off the bench this season. Pelphrey said he didn't know whether he'd start Welsh or sophomore Marcus Britt against the Rebels.

"I didn't (bring him off the bench) because of a slump," Pelphrey said. "I thought the reason he played well was because he looked on edge, alert and full of energy, and he looked like a reader of defense. He looked like everything was on the money."

Backcourt Steals

Arkansas recorded a season-high 15 steals Sunday against Georgia, topping the 11 the Razorbacks swiped against North Texas on Jan. 3.

Several of those steals came in the Georgia backcourt, forced by Arkansas pressure. Freshman guards Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke teamed up for three of them, turning all three into fast break points.

"I think we're finally starting to get a hang of how to put pressure on the ball," Clarke said. "At first, we didn't understand all the positions we were supposed to be in and what we were supposed to do, but we're getting a feel for that.

"We were able to anticipate some passes (Sunday) that led to a couple of two-on-ones and that got us on the run."



Wednesday's Ticket



Ole Miss at Arkansas

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville

TV: None

Radio: KEZA-FM 107.9, KKEG-FM 92.1, KUOA-AM 1290, FM 97.9, 105.3

Records: Ole Miss, 15-13, 6-8 Southeastern Conference; Arkansas Razorbacks, 14-13, 2-12

Coaches: Ole Miss, Andy Kennedy (3rd season); Arkansas, John Pelphrey (2nd season)

Series: Arkansas leads 40-23 (Arkansas leads 12-6 in Fayetteville)

Last Meeting: Ole Miss beat Arkansas 74-65 on Jan. 14 in Oxford, Miss.

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