Stan Heath Press Conference ? Ole Miss

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays host to Ole Miss on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. in a non-televised game. Arkansas is 13-5 overall and 2-3 in the SEC after Saturday’s 68-52 win at Auburn. Ole Miss is 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the league after its 72-65 loss at Georgia. Following is a partial transcript of head coach Stan Heath’s press conference.

“First, I want to thank our fans. Our last two home games, we’ve had 18,000-plus here and that was phenomenal. We need that again, maybe more.

“I like the way our defense has been playing. We’re in the top three in the conference in scoring defense. We need to get better, but that’s a foundation we want.”

Ole Miss:

“Ole Miss feels like a rivalry in my mind. Maybe it has to do with the fact they’ve had a lot of Arkansas kids on their roster and they’ve come back here and played hard. It increases the intensity. I like the fact we have two Mississippi kids on our roster. They don’t have any, which is a little odd.

“Dwayne Curtis is a load inside. He’s great at getting angles and is a terrific rebounder. They are getting great play out of Bam Doyne and Todd Abernethy has a lot of experience.

“Ole Miss is faster shooting the ball than in the past. In their last game, they played three defenses – man, a match-up zone and a triangle-and-two.

“You have to know when you play Ole Miss and you go to the rim, you better go strong.”

What Arkansas needs to do:

“I want to see us get back to running and getting easy baskets in transition. I would like for things to open up. I want us to stay aggressive and attack the basket. We shot 13 threes at Auburn. That’s about where I want to be. Twenty threes are too many. That’s not our strength. We have to continue to make defense a staple for us.”

Free throw shooting:

“I like to see the right guys get to the line. I want all of our guys who are 70 percent-plus to get to the line all the time.”

Charles Thomas:

“All of our sophomores are taking a nice step up from their freshman year to their sophomore year. Darian is still putting up solid offensive numbers. His defense is nowhere near where I want him to be, but he is giving great effort. With Steven, it’s easy to see his progress, especially in the last few SEC games.

“Charles has had the best trio of games of his career. He needs to continue that ‘Manimal’ nickname and way of playing. He’s taking advantage of opportunities and being more aggressive. When opponents play him close, he drives. When they back off, he shoots. He’s doing a good job of finding seems in zones. He finds ways to score.”

Zone defenses:

“We’re executing very well. We’re getting wide open threes. We had 20 offensive rebounds at Alabama and we did a good job of penetrating at Auburn. It seems like once we find a weakness, we go after it.”