Hoosiers Fall to Arkansas in NCAA First Round
March 22, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Razorbacks Sonny Weems scored a career-high 31 points, Townes added 17 points and 12 rebounds and the ninth-seeded Razorbacks beat eighth-seeded Indiana 86-72 on Friday night in the first round of the East Regional.
"When Sonny is hot, he gets everybody going," Townes said.
Weems hit 12 of 14 shots to break out of a slump--he was a combined 17-for-56 in his previous five games--for Arkansas (23-11), which shot 54 percent and made 68 percent of its attempts in the second half. The Razorbacks snapped a five-game losing streak in NCAA tournament games dating to a first-round victory against Siena in 1999.
"Those games are behind me," Weems said. "I just kept my confidence. The guards did a great job ... of finding me in the open court, and I just knocked down shots."
The Razorbacks' reward for finally making the second round: a date with No. 1 seed and top-ranked North Carolina on Sunday in a virtual home game for the Tar Heels, playing roughly a 30-minute drive from their Chapel Hill campus.
The schools met twice in the postseason during a three-year period in the 1990s, with North Carolina beating Arkansas in the 1993 regional semifinals on its way to its third NCAA tournament title. Two years later, the Razorbacks knocked the Tar Heels out of the 1995 Final Four before falling to UCLA in the national championship.
"They're a resilient bunch," Pelphrey said of his team. "They've been given up for dead two or three times, and they bounced back. The challenge for them is to have some repeat success, in terms of their effort, their focus, their level of play, (because) this is the NCAA tournament and our next opponent is unbelievable.
"So, that's the challenge for these guys," he added. "They've had success a lot of times on a given night, a given day, a given game. We need to do it back to back now."
Eric Gordon, the Big Ten's freshman of the year and the team's leading scorer, was 3-of-15 shooting and finished with six points--more than 15 below his average.
"It's been frustrating, it's been tough, because these teams, they wanted to take my drive away," Gordon said. "Having that big 7-foot guy (Steven Hill) in the middle to take away my opportunities to score on the inside. That's what I tried to do. You couldn't really get inside that zone, so you had to figure out other ways to penetrate."
The Razorbacks never trailed after halftime and gave themselves plenty of separation midway through the second half. After Stemler pulled Indiana to 49-47 by hitting a 3 with the shot clock winding down, Arkansas took control.
Steven Hill's dunk started the decisive 12-3 burst, Townes twice stuck back missed 3-pointers for layups, and Weems knocked down a 3 while drifting into the Arkansas bench before his basket with 7:40 left stretched the lead to 61-50.
"I just thought, collectively, they were playing harder than" Indiana was, Bassett said.
Weems surpassed his previous high of 28 points set against South Carolina in January, while Townes finished one point shy of his season high reached four times, most recently last week against Vanderbilt.
"Sunny days when Sonny Weems plays the way he plays," said guard Patrick Beverley, who added 12 points for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas improved to 12-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points.
South Carolina in January, while Townes finished one point shy of his season high reached four times, most recently last week against Vanderbilt.
Patrick Beverley added 12 points for the Razorbacks, who improved to 12-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points.
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