One couldn't help but think of the band U2 on Sunday at Bud Walton Arena.
From the start, it was With or Without You – as University of Arkansas senior center Michael Washington tried to play but injured a back in pre-game warm-ups.
Then it looked like it was going to be a Sunday Bloody Sunday when visiting South Alabama jumped to a 27-12 lead over the Razorbacks midway through the first half.
A 22-1 run by the home team left open the door on it still being a Beautiful Day instead of an unfathomable third home loss - this week alone - to a mid-major club.
But in the end, Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey was left in A Moment You Can't Get Out Of and seemingly trying to learn How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
Martin Brock had 21 points and Arkansas native Bryan Sherrer and Tim Williams 11 each as the Jaguars completed an 0-3 week for the Razorbacks with a 74-61 victory before a season-low crowd of 5,187.
"You have got to give the other team credit, but we have got to get better," Pelphrey said. "It has been a difficult last week to say the least…These days are getting really, really long."
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was asked after the game for his opinion on the week, but declined comment.
Rotnei Clarke had 19 points to lead the UA while Jemal Farmer chipped in 12.
"It is frustrating, obviously," Clarke said. "I am having a hard time even speaking right now because I am so frustrated. I hate losing…I know our team hates losing. It is frustrating. The only thing that I can think about doing right now is staying positive. I don't want to think about any negative things because I love the guys we have in the locker room right now and I love the coaching staff and I know that we will be able to bounce back from this. So I am not going to speak any negative things about this team right now."
The Razorbacks (2-4) will add in suspended Marcus Britt on Wednesday when they travel to Oklahoma and Pelphrey noted that indefinitely suspended Courtney Fortson has return to practice.
Pelphrey – who coached at South Alabama before coming to Arkansas – said he was steadfast in his desire to get the team turned around quickly.
"We are going to," Pelphrey said. "This is where I want to be. I had the opportunity – I made the choice to come here. We are going to fight and scratch and get better. Obviously it is well documented that we are dealing with a few things. We felt good good about it then and we need to feel good about it now.
"This was probably something that we thought about could happen, but we thought we could work through it and could overachieve," Pelphrey added, "but we haven't overachieved to this point and time with the circumstances being given. That is what we have got to do. We have to find a way to overachieve. That is what we are here for, to work hard and max out. We are limited to certain degree, but some of the things that have happened in the last week we can correct."
The crowd was a season-low for Bud Walton Arena and was noted by Sherrer, a 6-0 senior guard who grew up following the Razorbacks.
"It is not the typical atmosphere growing up and watching and coming into Bud Walton," Sherrer said. "You are used to having close to 20,000. But once they went on the run, you could hear the crowd get into it."
That certainly didn't keep it from being a prized win for Sherrer.
"It definitely feels good to come back and get a win in your home state," Sherrer said. "Being from Arkansas, growing up watching the Razorbacks from day one all the way up. To be able to come in here and get a victory against the Razorbacks is something that I can take with me for the rest of my life."
Arkansas redshirt sophomore forward Michael Sanchez, who has been unable to practice because of injury, saw his first action of the season and had 6 points and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes.
"I have got to tell you it feels great to be back in Bud Walton," Sanchez said. "It is great to be back in front of these fans and my teammates. I was excited…I am healed and I am so thankful for that. It has been tough sitting out, but I am back and I am glad to be back and help the team."
South Alabama outscored Arkansas 15-2 to open the game, but the Razorbacks responded with a spree that surged it six points ahead before the half would end.
But a season-high 20 turnovers and shooting a season-low 34.9 percent from the field made the good play go away.
"I thought our guys really responded, man the spirit and the way they did it was the way we want to play," Pelphrey said. "We got a chance to regroup and come back and its one thing we haven't done this year is turn it over. To start both halves was just bad with that. It was careless. It was something that we hadn't done."
The Razorbacks suffered a blow when Washington suffered a back injury at the morning shoot-around although he did get treatment and dressed out before it was decided to send him for more medical treatment.
"It was no contact, just kind of a freaky thing," Pelphrey said. "He just kind of went up for a lay-up. I am not sure exactly what happened – muscular or joint or what. But he has a back issue."
Pelphrey was asked if he felt like a black crowd was following his team around right now with injuries, suspensions and now the three-game losing streak.
"I don't know if I have the answer right now, but we are going to find one," Pelphrey said. "Unfortunately for me, I have been through this and it is not pleasant, it is not fun and enjoyable. But we will show back up and we will play. We will play hard. We are going to get better. We are not going to make excuses. To say I have it all figured out right now – well, we are going to work on it.
"They are dejected right now and they should be, but at the appropriate time (in Monday's practice) we will get them going again."
Stef Welsh added 8 points and 5 assists for Arkansas, but talented freshmen Marshawn Powell (4 points, 5 rebounds) and Julysess Nobles (3 points, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls) struggled.
South Alabama head coach Ronnie Arrow was obviously pleased with his team following Morgan State and East Tennessee State into Bud Walton Arena and walking out with a win.
"It was an up-tempo game and we wanted to hold Arkansas – I knew they were having 92 or 93 points a game – we wanted to lock up on them and see what we could hold them to," Arrow said. "I thought we did a really, really good job."
Arkansas led 34-30 at halftime, but South Alabama unleashed a 17-0 run to turn a tie game into a 57-40 blowout.
That was the second of two long dry spells for the Razorback offense as they scored only 6 points in the first 10 minutes of each of the two halves.
"I thought we came out a little bit tentative and uneasy and it took us a second there for us to find our way," Pelphrey said. "Obviously we had to find a way to play some line up changes and what we were going to be able to do to have a chance."
The only offensive spurt was actually a defensive-fueled one after the Razorbacks fell down by 15 when Williams hit a 3-pointer at the 7:49 mark.
With Glenn Bryant (7 points, 6 rebounds) heading up the press, Arkansas got things going.
When Clarke buried a 3 pointer and Sanchez hit a free throw, it gave Arkansas a 34-28 lead with 2:28 left before halftime.
"I thought those guys really dug their heels in and were able to score a basket or two and get the press on," Pelphrey said. "We got some turnovers. I thought they showed tremendous heart and spirit."
That was all but forgotten when the Jaguars – who shot 54.5 percent from the field in the second half 46.9 percent for the game - went on their big second half run with help from Arkansas.
"Then we come out in the second half and kind of started the same way with silly fouls and turnovers to put yourself in impossible situations with transition defense and gave them easy baskets," Pelphrey said, "and we put ourselves right back into the same hole to start the game. We were not able to get back out of that."
South Alabama 74, Arkansas 61
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