8:05 PM ET, January 25, 2006
Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas had a feeling it could take advantage of Ole Miss' smaller guards, so midway through the first half, the Razorbacks switched to a zone.Ronnie Brewer (6-foot-7) and Dontell Jefferson (6-foot-5) were assigned to the perimeter, and, just like that, Arkansas' defense broke the game open."It's a zone that has some man-to-man principles," Razorbacks assistant Ronny Thompson said. "Their (height and reach), their athleticism we thought gave Ole Miss some trouble. Sometimes in a game, you hunt, you hunt, you hunt and you find something that works."Jonathon Modica scored 20 points and Brewer added 19 to lead Arkansas to a 71-58 win Wednesday night. The Razorbacks trailed 19-17 before outscoring the Rebels 19-2 over the final 9:25 of the first half.The key was the zone. Brewer and Jefferson disrupted Ole Miss on the perimeter, especially 6-foot-1 Todd Abernethy and 5-foot-11 Brian Smith. When the Rebels tried to go inside, Steven Hill and Darian Townes were waiting."They got the momentum and we got on our heels," Abernethy said.Modica, Hill and Charles Thomas scored 4 points each during a 16-0 run that put Arkansas ahead 33-19. Dwayne Curtis finally made a layup for the Rebels with 2:39 to play, but Arkansas led 36-21 at halftime.Ole Miss committed 13 of its 17 turnovers in the first half. Hill and Townes each had two blocks before the break."The zone was very effective for us in this game," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "It was the first time we used it for that length of time, but we just felt like they weren't in a rhythm against it, so we stuck with it."Arkansas (14-5, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) shot 62 percent from the field in the second half, and the lead never dropped below 10.Reserve Clarence Sanders scored 12 points to lead the Rebels (13-5, 3-2), who have lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak. Curtis, who entered Wednesday's contest averaging 14.8 points per game, was held to 10. He also had 10 rebounds.Hill finished with five blocks for Arkansas, and Townes had four."Arkansas played well on defense," Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. "It wasn't one person who stopped us. Their zone was very effective."Townes scored 13 points for Arkansas, and Brewer had seven rebounds. Jefferson had nine assists for the Razorbacks.Ole Miss' opponents had shot only 31 percent from 3-point range entering the game, and Arkansas finished 2-of-10 after missing all seven of its first-half attempts. The Rebels were a bit better, finishing 6-of-19 from 3-point range after going 1-for-8 in the first half.Arkansas' three SEC losses were by a total of 10 points, while their wins were by 12, 16 and 13.Ole Miss hosts LSU on Saturday. Arkansas' next game is at Kentucky on national television Sunday. The Razorbacks have lost five straight to the Wildcats."I'm ready for it," Brewer said. "It's a big stage on Sunday on CBS. We've struggled with Kentucky while I've been here, and we're going to go there and try to change that."
|FG Made-Attempted||22-55 (.400)||28-52 (.538)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-19 (.316)||2-10 (.200)|
|FT Made-Attempted||8-11 (.727)||13-18 (.722)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|