Razorbacks take on Sooners

Friday, November 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ The Arkansas Razorbacks will be looking for their first victory tonight in a four-year deal with Oklahoma.

Razorback coach Nolan Richardson said Thursday that his players will have to work to get a win tonight at Fayetteville. Richardson said he was impressed with how hard Oklahoma played in a loss to nationally ranked Michigan State.

``They played them down to the last few minutes and then it changed,'' he said. The Spartans won 67-55.

The contest between the Razorbacks (3-1) and Oklahoma (2-1) was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the game was moved to fit into ESPN2's television schedule.

On Wednesday, Arkansas won at Tulsa 79-75 while Oklahoma defeated Central Michigan 81-64.

``They always pick up some junior college players who are pretty good and (Hollis) Price is a big-time swing guard,'' he said. ``Ebi (Ere) is a very good player, plus they have a great returning group in Price, (Aaron) McGhee and (Daryan) Selvy. They can all score. They play up-tempo basketball.

``They were a preseason top 25 team,'' he said. ``We have our work cut out for us.''

Arkansas is 0-3 in the current four-year deal with the Sooners. Oklahoma won by 30 in Norman, then won 66-62 two years ago in Fayetteville. Last year, the Sooners won at home in overtime, 88-79.

In Wednesday's game at Tulsa, Arkansas went ahead to stay 64-63 on a 3-pointer by Brandon Dean with less than six minutes to play. Dean followed with another 3-pointer on his way to 16 second-half points.

``He looks like he's in a lot better playing condition now,'' Richardson said. ``He's got some talent. A lot of guys live by their jump shot and when his is on, he starts feeling it and he wants the ball. I'm glad he's making some shots because he's as good as any of them when he's making shots.''

Arkansas led by seven with four minutes to play, but the lead was 77-75 when Larry Satchell made two free throws with less than eight seconds to play.

``The guys were happy but they weren't jumping around,'' Richardson said. ``I like how they took it in stride. They handled that part of it really well. When you go play, you're supposed to expect to win. If we can stay at our peak level performance, that's better than being on an emotional high.

``There are some areas where we're concerned, like how to play the game,'' he said. ``We have to talk about basketball IQ and work on knowing how to preserve a victory. We had some turnovers that we shouldn't have had, we fouled 3-point shooters and things like that. I know we're hustling, but there's a difference between hustling intelligently and just hustling.''

He also said that a review of the Tulsa tape showed Dionisio Gomez graded out as high as any Razorback ever. Gomez played 32 minutes with career highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds. He also had two assists and two steals without a turnover.