The University of Arkansas gets a chance on Sunday to at least salvage one game of what has turned into a lost week of Thanksgiving basketball.
The Razorbacks (2-3) host South Alabama (5-2) today at 2 p.m. hoping to not lose a third straight home game to a mid-major – this one that used to be coach by UA head coach John Pelphrey.
"The last two games our opponents have made the plays and we haven't made enough of them," Pelphrey said. "We have just got to find a way. This is the first time our eight guys are going through it and they are getting tested right now."
Arkansas has fallen to both Morgan State (97-93) and East Tennessee State (94-85) this week already.
Pelphrey was quick to point out that former Razorback stars Corliss Williams and Sidney Moncrief weren't on the way to help and that his present team just has to bow up and get it done.
"Corliss is not walking through that door, Sid is not coming through that door, this is our deal," Pelphrey said. "We have ownership of that and we know what is going on around us. We are going to get in there and work."
Pelphrey has found out so far this season that his team has plenty of offense, but has certainly not gotten it done on defense or on the boards.
Asked if it that was a lack of effort, Pelphrey didn't believe that was the case.
"Obviously we have to take ownership of that," Pelphrey said. "But I think there is a knack for it, a talent for it. We have got to figure it out. I don't think our guys aren't trying. I don't think that at all because there are periods of time where it is very good."
South Alabama comes into Sunday's game off of a 70-66 win over Georgia State in the championship game of the USA Thanksgiving tournament.
Gary Redus hit a 3-pointer with 1:03 left that sealed the win for head coach Ronnie Arrow, who was the coach before Pelphrey and took over after him.
The Jaguars had been rebounding poorly until their last game.
"It makes all the difference in the world when you rebound," Arrow said. "We went back after the Tulsa game, and worked on rebounding. We outrebounded a team with Georgia State's size and so we'll continue to work on rebounding because that's an asset we have to bring every game. I just think the team showed signs of coming together and doing the things we had to do to win against a good team."
Tim Williams was named the MVP of the tournament while seniors LaShun Watson and Arkansas native Bryan Sherrer were named to the all-tournament squad.
Sherrer (6-0, 195), a former Monticello standout, led his team with 15 points in the win over Georgia State and is averaging 10.1 points.
"I think anytime you get to come back to your home state – whether it is here or somewhere else – it is pretty unique," Pelphrey said. "I am sure there will be a lot of folks that remember him, lot of them will probably be around. There is just something about playing at home that is special for players."
Pelphrey, in his third season at Arkansas, said he doesn't really have that much emotion about playing his former team.
"At this moment, no," Pelphrey said. "I have a lot of emotions right now, but that is not one of them…There are only a couple of guys left that I had anything to do with."
Arrow took his team to the NCAA Tournament two years ago and has lots of success in two stints at South Alabama.
"Ronnie is a good basketball coach and he is going to be well-organized," Pelphrey said. "I think you will see a lot of different stuff from them offensively. I think you will see changing defenses just like the last two coaches. Those guys have been doing it for awhile and we'll have to be ready to go."
Rotnei Clarke leads Arkansas with a 33-points per game average, but center Michael Washington – a preseason All-SEC selection has not got out of the gate well so far.
Pelphrey was asked if Washington's back is acting up again.
"I think Mike is never going to miss games," Pelphrey said. "He is always going to be out there. He has some bumps and bruises, but Mike has always played with that stuff. I anticipate him being back out there."
This is the last of six November games for short-handed Arkansas, who will travel to Oklahoma on Wednesday for its first true road game.
"There are a lot of things that are going on that are tough, but we are not going to make excuses," Pelphrey said. "We are going to be accountable for what we are doing, try to get better…We will be prepared and ready to go Sunday."
One Last Chance
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Arkansas On Game Days | Tailgate TravelsAs much fun as it is being at an Arkansas football game, the pregame can be just as enjoyable, especially if you have an RV. Head out to Fayetteville to see what makes the…
Scout CFBFriday at 9:20 AM
Cats Picked To Win SEC CrownThe voters at SEC Media Days are convinced: Kentucky has reloaded.
Scout 2017 Rankings DirectoryThe Scout positional, state, regional, national and team rankings for the Class of 2017...
Scout FootballMonday at 7:00 AM
"They Are Playing Really Good Football"Arkansas Coaches Bret Bielema and Dan Enos talk about facing Auburn this weekend and the challenges that presents for the Razorbacks.
Inside The AU Tigers10/19/2016