In the Lane:

Freshman can't help at the end

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, March 24, 2019
Arkansas Razorbacks guard Desi Sills (0) dribbles during the first half of the NCAA National Invitation Tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2019 at the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The Arkansas Razorbacks fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 63-60.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas Razorbacks guard Desi Sills (0) dribbles during the first half of the NCAA National Invitation Tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2019 at the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. The Arkansas Razorbacks fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 63-60.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The good news for the University of Arkansas basketball team was that Desi Sills scored a career-high 18 points in Saturday's second-round NIT game against Indiana.

The bad news for the Razorbacks was that Sills -- a freshman guard from Jonesboro -- couldn't score in the final 4:25 as the Hoosiers held on to win 63-60 at Assembly Hall.

Sills fouled out with 4:25 left when he was called for a block as he tried to draw a charge from Indiana forward De'Ron Davis.

"I tried to be in the right position for my team and get the charge so we could get the ball back," Sills said. "Obviously, they've got the home-court advantage, but I did what I could.

"I tried to cheer on my teammates from the bench to the win."

Sills hit 6 of 11 shots, including 4 of 6 three-pointers, and 2 of 2 free throws.

"He was a guy that had it going on," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "Whether it be attacking the basket, making passes or stepping up and knocking shots down. I thought he played his heart out."

Sills was asked about the frustration of having a career-high scoring game but being unable to play in the critical final minutes.

"I trusted my teammates," he said. "I can make a difference, but they can make a difference, too."

Matching Murray

Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe hit 3 of 9 three-pointers to finish the season with 113 and tie the SEC freshman record set by Kentucky's Jamal Murray during the 2015-16 season.

Joe hit 113 of 271 (41.7 percent) while Murray hit 113 of 277 (40.8 percent).

"I felt like I had a pretty good season," Joe said. "I had teammates, the coaching staff, and the fans to back me up.

"Without that, I wouldn't be where I'm at. It's a great honor to be in this position, but I'd much rather get the win."

Better outcome this time

Indiana forward De'Ron Davis missed a put-back basket in the final seconds of the Hoosiers' first meeting with Arkansas this season in Walton Arena, then fouled Mason Jones with 2.5 seconds.

Jones hit a free throw that lifted the Razorbacks to a 73-72 victory.

Davis had a better experience Saturday when he had 10 points in 20 minutes off the bench.

"It's a good feeling," said Davis, a 6-10 junior from Park Hill, Colo. "I have much respect for Arkansas and this coaching staff. They recruited me for years. Indiana, Colorado and Arkansas were my top schools in recruiting the whole time.

"I respect them. They play hard. They play aggressive. But we couldn't have them come in here to our house and knock us out of the tournament."

Charge it

Arkansas freshman guard Isaiah Joe finished the season with a team-high 27 charges taken. Joe drew his final charge when Justin Smith knocked him down with 2:26 left in the first half.

Arkansas sophomore forward Gabe Osabuohien drew his 24th charge of the season when Smith ran into him with 17:15 left in the first half.

See ya next season

Arkansas will play in Assembly Hall again next season when the Razorbacks return the game that Indiana played at Fayetteville this season.

Saturday marked Arkansas' second game at Indiana, along with a 75-50 loss during the 1949-50 season.

Including next season's game, the Razorbacks and Hoosiers will meet three times in two seasons after playing just twice previously.

Prior to this season, the teams' only meeting in addition to Indiana's 25-point victory 69 years ago came in the 2008 NCAA Tournament when the Razorbacks beat the Hoosiers 86-62 at the East Regional in Raleigh, N.C.

In the NIT

Arkansas fell to 6-5 in its fourth NIT appearance. The Razorbacks best showing was in 1997 when they won three games in Walton Arena to reach the Final Four in New York before losing to Michigan in the semifinals and to Connecticut when the tournament still had a consolation game.

In Arkansas' other three NIT appearances -- including 1987 and 2014 -- the Razorbacks were 1-1 with second-round losses on the road. They beat Arkansas State University and lost at Nebraska in 1987, and beat Indiana State and lost at California in 2014.

Sports on 03/24/2019

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