In the Lane:

Home rut dismays Anderson

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2019
Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson watches his players during a basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson watches his players during a basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson shook his head, seemingly in disbelief.

The Razorbacks' 87-80 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday dropped Arkansas to 10-6 at Walton Arena this season.

Anderson was asked if the six home losses -- the most for Arkansas under his watch, and the most since a 12-9 home record at Walton Arena in 2010 -- was a tough pill to swallow.

"I always talk about it," Anderson said. "This is one of those places where people don't even come in here thinking they've got a chance. So I'm disappointed in that. I really, really am.

"Our fans have been fantastic. There were great tonight, just trying to will this basketball team."

Texas A&M had been 0-5 at Walton Arena before breaking through Saturday.

Board beating

Texas A&M outrebounded Arkansas 35-25 to become the 11th consecutive SEC opponent to beat the Hogs on the boards.

The Aggies had 12 offensive rebounds and beat Arkansas 16-11 in second-chance points.

"I think one of the key stats in the first half obviously was the second-chance points," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.

"Rebounding today was a big key," Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy said. "For us to outrebound Arkansas by 10 was a big part of the reason why we won. When you rebound on the road, it gives you opportunities to win."

Down Hogs

Arkansas center Daniel Gafford said the Razorbacks were trying to stay supportive in the locker room after dropping their fifth consecutive game.

"We're basically trying to keep each other up, encourage each other, motivate each other," Gafford said. "It's a quiet locker room right now because we should have never lost that game."

By Joe

Isaiah Joe moved into a tie for fourth place for three-pointers made by an SEC freshman in a season by hitting two against the Aggies.

Joe now has 93 three-pointers, tied with Tennessee's Chris Lofton, who made 93 in his freshman season of 2004-05. Joe needs 10 more to tie Ole Miss' Chris Warren, who hit 103 three-pointers as a rookie in 2007-08.

Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy considered it a win for his club to hold Joe to 2-of-8 shooting from three-point range.

"The heart of our scouting report was trying to keep him from getting touches and keep him from getting shots," Kennedy said. "He hit a shot-fake three, and then he hit a three at the end of the shot clock.

"To hold him to only two threes was a big part in what we were trying to do. Because he averages right at three-and-a-half to four a game. [Daniel] Gafford is such a force inside that when Joe is making threes, it's really hard to help on Gafford."

For starters

Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson followed up on his suggestion that he might change his starting five by giving nods to first-time starters Desi Sills and Gabe Osabuohien against the Aggies. The freshman Sills and sophomore Osabuohien joined center Daniel Gafford and guards Jalen Harris and Isaiah Joe in the starting lineup. Gafford, Harris and Joe have started all 27 games.

The Hogs' starting quintet had played just nine possessions together this season.

"I thought they gave us energy," Coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought they played well. I thought those guys played well. It was a continuation of what took place in the last game.

"I thought they're energy guys defensively and offensively. Desi did a great job of penetrating and finding people, getting to the basket, and started off the game making shots for us.

"Gabe, you look at what he brought to the table -- he ended up with four fouls -- but the thing I love about them, they're going to give you everything they got."

Mason Jones, a 26-game starter, and Adrio Bailey, a 24-game starter, came off the bench for the Razorbacks after sixth man Reggie Chaney, who replaced Gafford.

Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy has experimented with his starting lineup virtually all season. Only Savion Flagg and Christian Mekowulu have started all 26 games for the Aggies. Wendell Mitchell got his 18th start, Brandon Mahan his 17th and Chris Collins his seventh on Saturday.

Honored

Former Arkansas guard U.S. Reed, who hit one of the most iconic shots in school history, was honored at halftime.

Reed hit a shot just beyond half court at the buzzer that stunned defending NCAA champion Louisville 74-73 in the second round of the 1981 NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas.

UA Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek presented Reed with a framed print of the shot, and former cheerleader Scott Atkinson -- who snared the Spalding basketball on the court on March 14, 1981 -- presented the ball to Yurachek nearly 38 years after Reed's remarkable game-winning shot.

Five-point play

First-time Arkansas starters Gabe Osabuohien and Desi Sills played key roles on a five-point offensive trip that opened the scoring.

Osabuohien drove the right wing into the paint and dished to Sills, who hit a three-pointer from straightaway for the first points of the game at the 19:04 mark. Christian Mekowulu was called for a rebounding foul against Daniel Gafford on the shot, giving the Hogs another possession. Six seconds later, Isaiah Joe nestled in a 15-foot jumper for a 5-0 Arkansas lead.

Nebo effect

Texas A&M junior Josh Nebo had a splendid first stint off the bench. The 6-9, 244-pounder scored nine consecutive points for the Aggies in his first five minutes.

He made an old-fashioned three-point play, converted 3 of 3 free throws, had a pair of dunks, and blocked a Daniel Gafford shot on the other end in that span. He scored all of the Aggies' points in a stretch of 7:44. Nebo came out shortly after being called for traveling.

Nebo finished with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting with 6 rebounds in 24 minutes.

Sports on 02/24/2019

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