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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Hog Calls

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE -- Initially, the Arkansas Razorbacks recovered both from losing their All-SEC player before the game and South Alabama's 15-2 run at the outset of the game.

They could not recover from South Alabama's 17-0 run during the second half of the game.

So, the Razorbacks lost the game, 74-61, Sunday afternoon before a paltry 5,187 at Walton Arena to the South Alabama Jaguars that third-year Arkansas John Pelphrey coached before coming to Arkansas.

Now 2-4, the Razorbacks, losers the previous two games here to Morgan State and East Tennessee, have lost three straight non-conference home games for the first time since 1956.

That was without their senior preseason first-team All-SEC forward Michael Washington.

Washington, the 2008-2009 SEC rebounding champion, injured his back during the Sunday morning shootaround. He was getting examined while the Hogs played Sunday afternoon, Pelphrey said.

The Hogs began hopelessly without him. They committed five turnovers before the game was five minutes old and trailed 15-2 to Ronnie Arrow's now 6-2 Jaguars by 14:48.

USA's first six points were 3-pointers following Arkansas turnovers.

USA should have led by more than 15-2 but missed some shots and also turned it over too often.

Arkansas, aided off the bench by the season's first off the bench appearance by injured sophomore forward Michael Sanchez, regrouped to stop its turnovers, pressed to increase the Jaguars turnovers and held USA to two field goals the half's final 7:51.

By 3:31 Rotnei Clarke's free throw had the Hogs up 29-28 en route to a miraculous 34-28 halftime lead.

The lead would have been bigger had Arkansas shot better than abysmal 12-of-23 from the first-half free throw line.

Arkansas shot better second-half free throws (14-of-18). That wasn't enough with the Hogs turning it over eight times in the second half to USA's four. Several of those turnovers keyed USA's 17-0 run after Glenn Bryant's Arkansas trey tied it 40-40 at 16:05.

It also didn't help that Clarke, 13 first-half points, only could get five second-half shots through the Arkansas turnover haze.

Clarke finished with 19 points while USA freshman Martino Brock took over the game offensively with 17 of his game-high 21 in the second half.

Capitalizing on Arkansas' miscues enables USA to outscore Arkansas, 21-2 on fast break points.

"It's a huge stat," Pelphrey said. "When you're careless with the basketball, it puts you in a hard spot to defend. Twenty turnovers led to a lot of transition stuff."

Meanwhile, Arrow said of the Jaguars, "We stopped turning the ball over. Fifteen the first half? That ain't good. Four the second half, that's good. We were able to make shots and stop them."

And get Clarke out of the second-half flow.

"I imagine," Arrow said, "everybody on most days would be happy to hold him to 19 points. Just six in the second half."

USA senior Bryan Sherrer, a Monticello native come back to Arkansas, played a game "I can take with me the rest of my life." Sherrer played a lot of defense on Clarke and scored 11 points.

Brock and Sherrer shot a combined nine-for-nine on free throws.

USA was outscored just 26-23 from the line despite attempting 29 free throws to Arkansas' 41.

With Washington out and Clarke second-half hampered, the Hogs got nothing 0-for-six from the field, from suddenly slumping freshman forward Marshawn Powell.

They suffered newcomer assists/turnovers woes with freshman point guard Julysses Nobles and JC transfer small forward combining for one assist versus eight turnovers.

Farmer did score 12 points but shot only 3 for 9 from the field.

The Arkansas six-game disciplinary suspension of junior guard Marcus Britt concluded Sunday.

So the two-year letterman and Forrest City High grad will travel to Norman, Okla.

Indefinitely suspended sophomore point guard Courtney Fortson now is practicing, Pelphrey said, but still "suspended indefinitely."



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