Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
UA must wipe memory clean
Arkansas forward Alandise Harris (2) reaches to block a shot by Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison during the second half of play Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson is hopeful his team has come down from Michael Qualls’ high-flying dunk that beat Kentucky on Tuesday night.
The Razorbacks (12-4, 1-2 SEC) want to build on the momentum generated by the Kentucky victory and prove they can be a good road team when they play Georgia (8-7, 2-1) at 12:30 p.m. today in Stegeman Coliseum.
Qualls’ two-handed put back dunk with 0.2 seconds left in overtime that lifted the Razorbacks past the Wildcats 87-85 capped a game televised by ESPN and has drawn a lot of additional national attention. Internet video of the dunk had more than 330,000 views by Friday.
“That game’s over with,” Anderson said. “We’ve got to make sure our guys understand that.”
Anderson said the Razorbacks can’t dwell on beating Kentucky just as they had to quickly put last Saturday’s overtime loss to Florida behind them.
“You’ve got to have short term memory in this line of work,” Anderson said. “The Kentucky game has nothing to do with the Georgia game.”
Senior guard Fred Gulley said it hasn’t been difficult for the Razorbacks to get focused for Georgia because they understand what it took to get ready for Kentucky after the Florida loss.
“We know how the game of basketball goes,” Gulley said. “It’s a game of highs and lows, so we try not to get too high or too low. We just try to be consistent and do what we do.”
The Razorbacks have been consistently bad on the road in Anderson’s three seasons, a trend they hope to begin reversing today. Arkansas is 2-19 in road games and 3-25 in out-of-state games under Anderson, including a 69-53 loss at Texas A&M in the SEC opener on Jan. 8.
“My biggest point to our guys is going to be, ‘Did we learn something from being on the road the last time?’ ” Anderson said. “How do we go out and perform this time?
“I’m just anxious to see how we respond. I think our guys will be ready to play.”
The Razorbacks shot 36.2 percent from the field (21 of 59) at Texas A&M, including 11 missed layups. They had won the previous seven games by an average margin of 30.4 points.
“When we played at A&M, I thought our guys probably went in overconfident,” Anderson said. “They’ve got to show up and know we’re going to have to scrap and claw just like we play here. Just play with great passion, and play together. When adversity takes place, trust one another.”
Gulley said the Razorbacks are excited for another road game.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the road so we can play the style we’re used to, the game we know we can play, so we can quiet all these naysayers or people who are doubting us,” he said. “We’re ready to be a force.”
The Razorbacks, Gulley said, are motivated by the Texas A&M and Florida losses.
“Just because we came out and beat Kentucky, that didn’t erase this bad taste we have in our mouths,” he said. “We’re still hungry. We’re still wanting to go out and prove everybody wrong.”
Georgia, led by sophomore guards Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, is 7-1 at home and has won six consecutive games in Stegeman Coliseum since losing to Georgia Tech 80-71 on Nov. 15.
The Bulldogs opened SEC play by winning 70-64 in overtime at Missouri to break the Tigers’ 26-game home winning streak. Georgia then beat Alabama 66-58 at home before losing at Florida 72-50 on Tuesday night.
Florida forced 12 turnovers in the first half in taking a 36-16 lead over the Bulldogs. Arkansas hopes its pressure also rattles Georgia.
“Our aim is going to be to hopefully try to cause some chaos with our defense,” Anderson said. “Try to speed them up … to disrupt what they want to do.
“That gives us an opportunity to use more personnel when you can get the game in a full-court situation. It tends to favor us to use more people and make them use guys coming off the bench and make fatigue part of the game.”
Georgia Coach Mark Fox said the Bulldogs made some bad decisions against Florida’s press.
“We got a little mentally weak and kind of gave in for seven or eight minutes,” he said. “We’ve got to be tougher than that.”
The Bulldogs figure to try to slow the Razorbacks, who are averaging 84.7 points.
“Georgia is a team that wants the game to be in the 60s,” Anderson said. “So it’s going to be a game of will of tempos.”
ARKANSAS MEN AT GEORGIA WHEN 12:30 p.m. Central WHERE Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
RECORDS Arkansas 12-4, 1-2 SEC. Georgia 8-7, 2-1 SERIES Arkansas leads 17-13 RADIO Razorback Sports Network TELEVISION SEC TV on KATV, Channel 7, in Little Rock; KHOG/KHBS, Channels 40/29, in Fayetteville and Fort Smith and KAIT, Channel 8, in Jonesboro.
Sports, Pages 25 on 01/18/2014