SEC Tournament report:

Arkansas regroups after loss

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Arkansas guard Kikko Haydar plays in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi in Fayetteville, Ark. Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Arkansas guard Kikko Haydar plays in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi in Fayetteville, Ark. Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

ATLANTA - The Arkansas Razorbacks held a players-only meeting Tuesday before leaving Fayetteville for the SEC Tournament.

Senior forward and team captain Coty Clarke called the meeting after the Razorbacks ended the regular season with an 83-58 loss at Alabama, which ended Arkansas’ six-game winning streak.

“I called it just to touch base with everybody and let them know that we had to move on from that game,” Clarke said. “It’s a new season. I just wanted everybody on the same page and in the same mind-set.”

Sophomore forward Michael Qualls said it was good for the Razorbacks to meet after they weren’t as focused mentally as they should have been at Alabama.

“It humbled us and it made us focus on the process,” Qualls said. “So we’re going to come out, and we’re going to play Arkansas basketball.”

Razorbacks Coach Mike Anderson said the players meeting shows they’ve taken ownership of the team.

“They felt bad about the Alabama game, they really did,” Anderson said. “So for them to [have a meeting], that tells me that they’re growing up a little bit. Our guys will be ready to leave it on the floor.”

Portis: I’ll be back

Forward Bobby Portis, who was voted onto the All-SEC second team and All-Freshman team by conference coaches, said he’ll return to Arkansas for his sophomore season and isn’t considering entering the NBA Draft.

“I’m definitely coming back next year,” Portis said Wednesday after the Razorbacks practiced at the Georgia Dome. “I’ve still got things to work on to improve my game and get my body stronger.”

Portis, averaging 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds, said he was surprised to make the All-SEC second team. The first team had eight players and the second team had 10.

“Only 18 guys made the first and second teams, and I didn’t really expect to be one of them,” Portis said. “It’s a good feeling. I’ve worked hard this season, and to accomplish that, it’s big.”

Jones ill

Texas A&M junior guard Jamal Jones, who played at Searcy High School, has been ill and didn’t travel with the team Tuesday to Atlanta.

Aggies Coach Billy Kennedy said after the Aggies practiced Wednesday that he hoped Jones would be able to travel to Atlanta on Wednesday night.

Jones, averaging a team high 13.4 points, has been sidelined by a high fever.

“He’s sick and we are trying to figure out how sick he is,” Kennedy said.

“Hopefully he will get hydrated again and have a chance to play [today against Missouri].”

Sports, Pages 22 on 03/13/2014

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