Marcus Britt provided 28 good reasons for the Razorbacks to feel

good about the 28 points Devan Downey scored on them last Wednesday night.

Marcus Britt provided 28 good reasons for the Razorbacks to feel
good about the 28 points Devan Downey scored on them last Wednesday night.

 “If the dude takes 28 shots to get 28 points,” Britt said Thursday, “I think we did
our job.”

The Razorbacks did their job beating the Devan Downey led South Carolina Gamecocks,
92-79 at Walton Arena to advance 14-12 and best in the SEC West 7-4 going into
Saturday’s 6 p.m. FOX Sports televised game at Auburn.

Britt did the bulk of guarding  Downey, the Gamecocks’ point guard  averaging 28.9
points in SEC games. And the Madison native/Forrest City High grad should be proud
that Downey only connected on 11 of his 28 shots and got to the foul line just five
times for his 28 points.

Most of Downey’s 20 second-half points came after Arkansas had swollen the lead to 21.

Much of the momentum surging the Razorbacks leading by 21  during the second half
stemmed from how Britt ended the first half.

With 10 seconds left before intermission and Downey directing traffic trying to cut
into Arkansas’ 38-33 lead, the USC point guard glanced to see  Carolina coach Darrin
Horn barking instructions and gesturing from the bench.

Junior guard Britt seized the moment and the ball, driving past the dazed Downey for
a half-ending layup and 40-33 Arkansas advantage.

“That was a big boost for us,” said Arkansas point guard Courtney Fortson, who
provided a big boost of his own when the Hogs took it to Carolina the second half’s
outset.

“If he hadn’t looked at his coach,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said, “it never
would have happened, but  because Marcus was where he was supposed to be he made it
happen. It was a huge play because it was a 5-point game and they could have cut it
to 3 or 2 and instead we are up 7.”

Britt was asked Thursday to describe his steal and layup.

“I saw him look at that coach once,” Britt said, “and when he did it again I reached
over and got it. I think that was a good play to end the half.”

Did Downey react to Britt about the steal and layup?

“No,” Britt said. “He looked at his coach.”

Britt has made some defensive plays in this his third year as mainly a 6-3 defensive
specialist guarding spots ranging from shooting guards to small forwards. But
stealing from Downey, even if coach-assisted, ranks as his best.

“That really is a big play in my career,” Britt said Thursday. “Because Downey is
one of the best players in the league. He has been good all the years he has been in
college.”

It was also the biggest over-all night of Britt’s Arkansas career. He complemented
his 3 steals and 2 assists scoring a personal SEC high 12 points with near maximum
efficiency. Britt sneaked  from behind the offensive shadows of guards Fortson,
Rotnei Clarke and forwards Marshawn Powell to shoot  3 of 4 from the field and 6 of
6 from the free throw line.

“He certainly impacted the game in a lot of different areas,” Pelphrey said
Thursday. “We tried to encourage him to do that. There is a game plan for Mike, and
Marshawn, Court and Rot. He’s the one guy who may get lost in our starting lineup a
little bit. He’s got some things to give us from the offensive standpoint.”

Pelphrey appreciates the offense Britt provides and appreciates even more that it
enhances rather than detracts from Arkansas’ Big Four when Britt provides it.

“You don’t want,” Pelphrey said,  “anybody getting in the way of giving ourselves a
chance from an offensive standpoint of going inside to Marshawn and Mike. You want a
guy who will go set a screen for Rotnei first and be recipient of all that. That’s a
role. We know who our first four options are offensively and that’s an important
thing to understand.”

Britt understands.

“You know exactly what you are going to get out of him,” Pelphrey said,  “every
single day at work and he’s not going to hurt you. He’s solid.”

And adaptable. The at all costs defend the driving point guard that was Britt’s
objective versus South Carolina won’t be paramount Saturday  against the 3-point
shooting Auburn Tigers Arkansas edged, 82-79 in overtime, Feb. 6 at Walton Arena.

“I think we have got to not help on the wings,” Britt said of funneling the guards
inside. “We need to try and let their guard try to finish against Mike and
Marshawn.”