Frustrated Razorbacks

After a frustrating Tuesday night loss to Morgan State, Arkansas (2-2) tries to get back on the winning track Friday night while hosting East Tennessee State (2-3) at 7 p.m.

Razorback sophomore guard Rotnei Clarke feels your pain.

That's if you are a University of Arkansas basketball fan who was disappointed with Tuesday night's 97-93 home loss to Morgan State.

Because he and his teammates aren't happy at all.

"It's very frustrating obviously," Clarke said. "No matter who it is, for anyone to come in here and play that well and to get a win in Bud Walton Arena is frustrating to us and frustrating to probably the whole state of Arkansas. Obviously we are not very happy with it."

The Razorbacks (2-2) have a chance to bounce back with a game Friday night at 7 p.m. against East Tennessee State (2-3).

The Buccaneers come in fresh off a 77-71 win over College of Charleston – a game that snapped their three-game losing streak.

"Here is another team that has been in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, got some guys back and now what they are doing," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "I am sure this gives them confidence right now and we need to respond. Respond and play better."

Pelphrey – whose team plays South Alabama on Sunday - believes his team will learn from Tuesday's loss, but doesn't think it took Morgan State lightly.

"We have respect for everybody and we understand that every time we lace them up," Pelphrey said. "That is the reason why you play the games. I don't know that has changed the situation, but I am eager to get back to work and see how they come out. I imagine they will come out very focused and hopefully wiser and smarter and aspire to play better."

East Tennessee State is playing senior forward Mike Smith, a preseason All Atlantic Sun Conference pick who is out with a knee injury.

In his place, 6-3 junior guard Justin Tubbs (16.2) – a former University of Alabama player - and 6-4 junior forward Tommy Hubbard (14.2) have stepped up their play.

Tubbs had 29 points in the win over College of Charleston while Hubbard has double-doubles in three of his last four games.

The Bucs are coached by Murray Bartow, the son of legendary former Memphis and UAB head coach Gene Bartow.

"He is a tremendous coach and I am sure he will have his team ready and doing a lot of different things," Pelphrey said. "It will all be centered around very tough man-to-man defense and I am sure they will press us some, look to trap us and be aggressive with their defense. And get the ball into the guys hands that they want to on offense."

Arkansas has lost big leads in both of its last two games, getting by Appalachian State in overtime before the loss to Morgan State.

But Pelphrey doesn't think this is a team who will continue that – a trait of last season's squad.

"I'm over and done with that," Pelphrey said. "This team is different than a year ago. They show up and work. Man, they work. They have an unbelievable attitude. They are giving their best. Right now we need to play better."


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