Hog Calls:

Hogs need more energy from bench

By: Nate Allen
Published: Saturday, December 15, 2018
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson (left) consoles freshman forward Reggie Chaney after Arkansas fell 78-77 to Western Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson (left) consoles freshman forward Reggie Chaney after Arkansas fell 78-77 to Western Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Of the four Razorbacks that Mike Anderson uses most often off his bench, only one played with significant impact in Arkansas’ 78-77 loss last Saturday to Western Kentucky at Walton Arena.

All excelled their previous game, the 98-74 victory over Colorado State at Fort Collins, Colo.

Other than guard Desi Sills, Anderson’s bench that collectively had been coming of age in six consecutive victories after the season opening loss to Texas didn’t produce its accustomed energy against Western Kentucky.

That dismayed but certainly didn’t shock Arkansas’ veteran coach.

“We’ve got a lot of freshmen coming off that bench,” Anderson said. “And freshmen, they are going to be up and down.”

Sills, starring in the second half against Western Kentucky while others faltered; forward Reggie Chaney, OK against Western Kentucky with four rebounds but not impacting like he did against Colorado State; and guard Keyshawn Embery-Simpson, 14 points against Colorado State but zero against Western Kentucky, are freshmen.

Sophomore forward Gabe Osabuohien, the lone letterman off the bench, is most counted upon by Anderson as the blue collar energizer, taking charges, diving for loose balls and grabbing rebounds with scoring a bonus.

Anderson deemed Osabuohien’s intangible energy infusion and tangible five points, five rebounds and one shot block against Colorado State as “magnificent.”

Not so much his one rebound, 0 for 2 shots, turnover and two fouls in seven beleaguered minutes against Western Kentucky.

“The one that I know is capable of playing a lot better is Gabe,” Anderson said. “I thought Gabe could have given us some more quality minutes.”

Anderson anticipates Osabuohien, a Canadian but with Little Rock in his high school past at Southwest Christian Academy, playing back to form tonight at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock against Texas-San Antonio.

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