Nate Allen Hog Calls Hog Calls
Nolan Richardson used last Saturday as the Razorbacks' NCAA mandated one day per week off.Of course he knew his Hogs would really had to work at being any more "off" resting Saturday than they were playing against Oklahoma Friday night at Walton Arena.Not even the 69-54 final score details just how off Arkansas was losing to OU.For a team that Richardson maintained in October really worked hard on rebounding and gaining strength to compensate for losing Joe Johnson to the NBA, the Razorbacks couldn't have been more off. OU outboarded Arkansas, 42-14, including 14-1 on the offensive glass in the first half. Kelvin Sampson's Sooners aren't that much bigger than the Razorbacks, but they looked infinitely stronger. "Our big guys," OU 6-1 guard Hollis Price said, "treated the ball like meat and they were piranhas."And the Hogs were guppies. Only the vastly improved 6-8 forward Dionsio Gomez rebounded against the Sooners. He corralled 11 boards.All the 11 other Razorbacks used varied between 0 and 2 boards for a combined 13.Daryan Selvy, OU's reserve forward from West Memphis, netted 13 boards by himself. OU starting big men, 6-8 Aaron McGehee and 6-5 forward Ebi Ere, combined for another 13.Ere's 29 points proved you don't have to shoot pretty to have some beautiful stats. He just seemed to leap and power through the Hogs for a 10 of 14 shooting night including 8 for 8 from the line. Three of the four misses were 3-pointers. "My shot wasn't on tonight," Ere said. "But I found ways to get to the bucket and get easy buckets. Coach has preached all week about toughness and it paid off tonight."In his defense, 6-6 junior Arkansas guard Blake Eddins did get a board in his lone minute. Eddins has been under doctor's care for a virus the past couple of days though he has continued practicing.So Eddins and junior forward Carl Baker, in streetclothes because of a sprained ankle, were nonfactors.Trouble is, too many Hogs in the game factored equally with those who weren't.It's all, of course, a debilitating momentum sapper for these Hogs who came into the game feeling good about themselves after beating a good Tulsa team 79-75 on the road.However, before writing off these Hogs because of a November game in a season concluding in March, Arkansas fans need to refresh their memories. Remember the despair with the 1-3 football start of Houston Nutt's football Razorbacks this season?It's been replaced by elation ensuing with a 6-1 finish that has the 7-4 Hogs bowl bound. Remember these same basketballers two years ago? It seemed most everyone clamored for Richardson's head, until his Hogs stunned the league by beating Georgia, Kentucky, LSU and Auburn four days straight to win their first-ever SEC Tournament.These Hogs will never be mistaken for Charles Atlas in muscles or Dennis Rodman on the boards, but they certainly are stronger than they looked and can rebound better than they did against OU.When they are hitting shots and get in rhythm with their press these quick little Hogs can give most anyone fits, OU included.They gave OU fits last year in Norman before blowing a 9-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation and losing in overtime.As poorly as they played last Friday, Richardson has salvaged seasons from worse.