Shake off the rust and turn up the tempo.
This is what University of Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey hopes to see from his team as it returns from finals for a Wednesday night game at Bud Walton Arena with Alabama State.
The Razorbacks (4-5) will be playing the first game in 9 days while the Hornets (1-6) have played just once in the past 12 days.
I think the thing I want for these guys is I want to be able to come out with an effort and an intensity because they have been dealing with a lot," Pelphrey said. "Not to be like dizzy or in a fog or daze. "
With 11 player now on hand for a team that has been short-handed with suspensions and injuries this season, Pelphrey is also ready to pick up the pace.
"For me I would love to just be able to play the whole game in transition," Pelphrey said. "More bodies help towards that, especially experienced guys."
rkansas – which has won its last two games after a 2-5 start – should at least be healed and rested up off the break.
"We have had a couple of good practices and also had a chance to take some time to hopefully rest our bodies a little bit and not do as much banging as maybe you normally would," Pelphrey said.
Perhaps the guy that it helped the most was sophomore guard Rotnei Clarke, who has played a team-high average of 36.2 minutes per game as the short-handed team battled through suspensions and injuries early on.
Clarke leads his team and the SEC in scoring, but has seen that average drop steadily from the 51 points he put up in the first game down to 21.1 points right now.
"I'm feeling a lot better," Clarke said. "Just being able to have a couple days off, get some rehab and I've been getting a lot of treatment. My body is feeling pretty good at this point. I think i needed it pretty bad. it was really good for me."
Clarke, who admits he has gone down in his post-practice shooting regimen from 350 shots to 200, says he has had all kinds of treatment on just about anything he can.
"Everything, Clarke said. "Our trainers do a really good job. Ice bath. icing every joint in my body. Then whether it's stem or ultra sound, or whatever it is, it's every kind of treatment possible."
Alabama State comes into the game with such a bad record in part because of a tough road schedule that has included games at Ole Miss (90-53), DePaul (58-50), Evansville (61-57) among six outings away from home with just one home contest.
"They have played a very challenging schedule with a lot of road games like a lot of teams do with these early non-conference schedules," Pelphrey said. "It has been a program that has had some success in the post-season in terms of getting to post-season the last two or three years."
The Hornets have 11 players averaging over 10 minutes per game and are led by 6-3 senior guard Menji Mundadi (12.1 points per game) and 6-5, 220-pound forward Tramayne Moorer (10.0, 4.7) in what is a three-guard line-up.
"They have an athletic bunch of guards and it will be interesting to see how we are going to respond coming off a break," Pelphrey added. "Hopefully it will be in a very positive fashion with being able to reach the challenge of handling school and getting back to some physical healthy."
Arkansas is expected to send out Clarke, freshman power forward Marshawn Powell (14.9, 7.1), senior center Michael Washington (12.3, 5.0), junior small forward Jemal Farmer (11.9) and freshman point guard Julysess Nobles (7.3, 8.0 assists).
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