Despite a flight detour and a 45-minute delay, President Clinton and the first family appeared Tuesday to cheer for the Arkansas Razorbacks as the home team squashed the Texas Southern Tigers 129 to 63 in a basketball game that was never close.

Clinton praised the team on their victory. "They were wonderful - even better in person. I've been watching them on television every now and then," Clinton told reporters after the game.The president, on vacation in his home state for the holidays, arrived 45 minutes late in Fayetteville, Ark., for the game after the flight from Little Rock was rerouted due to bad weather. Air Force One was forced to change course and landed without incident at Rogers, some 40 miles north of Fayetteville.

After seeing the Razorbacks to victory, Clinton and daughter Chelsea visited the winning team's locker room. The president congratulated and shook hands with each player as well as the coaching staff.

Clinton came away with some souvenirs appropriate for a fan. The Razorbacks presented Clinton with a team warm-up suit, a practice jersey and baggy game shorts. The team also gave Chelsea an autographed basketball.

Clinton watched court action from atop a roof box, but he then walked down to courtside seats where he was later joined by Chelsea.

At one point fans began to do a wave, standing and raising their hands in turn. While Clinton was disappointed he missed it the first time, he made sure to throw his hands up as it passed by a second time.

Before heading to the locker room after the game, Clinton, sporting a Razorback baseball cap, spent 15 minutes shaking hands with hundreds of well-wishers.

Before traveling to Fayetteville to watch Arkansas' top-ranked basketball team take on the Texans, Clinton attended an afternoon reception Tuesday for friends and supporters at the Old State House in Little Rock.

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The president earlier had to endure an experience many Americans detest - a visit to the dentist.

Clinton saw his dentist, Dr. John Hatley, for a "routine checkup" after he arrived in Little Rock from his hometown of Hot Springs, Ark., said administration spokesman Jeff Eller.

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea spent Monday night with Hillary Clinton's family in Little Rock, and both stopped by to see Clinton after his checkup.

After visiting his mother and stepfather, Virginia and Dick Kelley, in Hot Springs, Clinton made an unexpected stop at a Shell station on the way to Little Rock for a brief visit with friends Frank and Carolyn Stanley.

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