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Young Arkansas players face challenge in hostile OSU environment


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ After a four-game home stretch, Arkansas travels to Stillwater, Okla. on Monday for a matchup against Oklahoma State.

Arkansas (5-4) enters the game coming off a 75-51 win against Centenary Saturday night, the Razorbacks fourth-straight win.

Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said Saturday he is a little concerned taking his young players on the road for their third away game, but the team is gaining confidence and working better together after starting the season 1-4.

``It will be interesting to see how our guys respond in a hostile environment,'' Heath said. ``A big part of our challenge ... is getting ourselves mentally prepared ... for the caliber of play that Arkansas and Oklahoma State has.''

OSU (8-1) hasn't played since Dec. 21, when the Cowboys gained their fifth-straight win with a 68-58 victory against Wichita State. Melvin Sanders led OSU with 19 points in the game for an average of 14.3 points a game.

Tony Allen leads the Cowboys with 15.1 points a game.

The Razorbacks rely mostly on their freshman for points on the board, with Kendrick Davis averaging 14.1 points a game. Davis also is Arkansas' most consistent free-throw shooter, completing 30 of 39 shots from the line.

Eric Ferguson averages 12.7 points a game, and Jonathon Modica led the team Saturday with 15 points and averages 12.1 points a game.

Arkansas has slowly increased its shooting percentage, landing a season-high 58.2 percent against Centenary. Overall the Razorbacks average 42 percent, compared to the Cowboys' 49 percent.

Cowboys head coach Eddie Sutton, a former Razorback coach, is 2-0 against Arkansas, and Heath is 1-0 against OSU when he was head coach at Kent State last season.

``He's a Hall of Fame coach, and he's probably a coach that really built this program (Arkansas) up. His teams play extremely hard. They work well together; they're well coached. I look at the things that they can do and hopefully someday in the future our team can play the way they do,'' Heath said.
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