Perhaps action doesn’t speak louder than words.

Or more accurately, perhaps action doesn’t speak without a wordy preference.  After Arkansas’ 73-64 SEC victory over Auburn Tuesday night, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey was into words. Specifically, words prefacing shooting guard Rotnei Clarke’s 5 for 9 from the field and 5 for 5 from the line performance scoring 16 points on Auburn at Walton.

 

FAYETTEVILLE –  Perhaps action doesn’t speak louder than words.
Or more accurately, perhaps action doesn’t speak without a wordy preference.  After Arkansas’ 73-64 SEC victory over Auburn Tuesday night, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey was into words. Specifically, words prefacing shooting guard Rotnei Clarke’s 5 for 9 from the field and 5 for 5 from the line performance scoring 16 points on Auburn at Walton.
Arkansas’ leading scorer for the season, Clarke was shut out (0 for 3 from the field and never getting to the line) in the previous game, the 75-43 debacle the Florida Gators won in Gainesville, Fla.
It got his Razorbacks to talking, Pelphrey said.
“It was interesting at practice,” Pelphrey said Tuesday postgame about the Sunday and Monday workouts between the Florida and Auburn games.  “We are scrimmaging and
I was actually working with the other team and I look up and there are three guys talking and telling Rot, ‘Come over this way!  I’ve got you moving here!’ It was a back screen and a stagger screen and he comes off and hits a shot.” Pelphrey did not let the moment go unspoken.
“I was coaching the other team,” Pelphrey said,  “and I say, ‘Red team come over here!’ And I ask them what they are doing. And they say, ‘What are you talking about? We are trying to get Rotnei open.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but you are talking.’
It’s amazing because I guarantee you these guys haven’t shut up since this game ended, but sometimes during the game, in practice, on defense those kind of things you can’t get them to talk.”
Clarke certainly did his part converting his teammates’ words to points and helping Arkansas improve to 13-6, 3-3 in the SEC.
“I thought he did a better job tonight of curling off of some screens,” Pelphrey said,  “and was very focused and did a good job of moving without the ball and we did a good job of getting him the ball. And we got some things in transition. He had a couple of really nice ball fakes in the first half and got himself inside the line and was a little bit of a playmaker. More than anything, I thought he did a good job.”
Good enough to keep the Hogs talking, Pelphrey hopes.  “I thought that was important,” Pelphrey said.  “A realization made by the group that we need to help each other. To be able to do that and think as a team, I thought that was a big moment in practice the other day. I thought that was good to see.”
Good to see in the game, though it seemed the Hogs went mute as their 24-point lead at 9:08 of the second half dwindled to six with 1:10 left.
It prompted Pelphrey to be asked if he would drive home Tuesday night thinking how well the Hogs played to lead by 24 or how poorly they played for the lead to fizzle.  “I wish I was mature enough to say,” Pelphrey said, “to be happy we got the win and are still undefeated at home and we are 3-3 in the league and have a chance to focus on other things with the day off. But I would be less honest if I didn’t say we have got to continue to play better. I am not happy with the way we finished the game.” Pelphrey said Auburn’s comeback bodes for a rough rematch with the 7-13, 0-6 Tigers, Feb. 26 at Auburn, Ala.
“Auburn is getting better and will be a big challenge when we go back there later on,” Pelphrey said.
Of course any game outside of Walton Arena where Arkansas is 12-0 is a big challenge for these Hogs. In true road games the Hogs are 0-4, 0-3 in the SEC.
The Vanderbilt Commodores loom Saturday in a 5 p.m. FOX Sports Network televised tip at their Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tenn.
“We enjoy playing in front of our home crowd,” Arkansas sophomore forward Marshawn Powell, a 13 points/11 rebounds double-double against Auburn, said, “but we have got to win on the road to be one of the best teams in this league or even a good team in this league. It’s a good win for us today but we have to get back in the gym and work and go to Vanderbilt and see what happens.”