NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Arkansas’ (19-15) magnificent season came to an end Friday evening in the first round of the NCAA South Regional to Miami (Fla.) 75-71.
The Razorbacks shot 25 percent from the field in the first half and were able to rally in the second half shooting 53 percent from the floor. Overall the Hogs were 24-of-59 in the four-point loss.
The Hogs woes in the first half included shots from the three-point line. The Razorbacks were 0-for-9 in the first half but bounced back in the second half making 9-of-17 from beyond the arch.
“We always tell our guys that you always have to shoot the basketball well,” assistant coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought that we were a little tight and at the same time we didn’t make some shots. I thought that they (Miami) took the fight to us. If you look at the way that our guys penetrated, they would knock the ball loose out of our their hands. I think that this is something that our guys had to go through.”
Arkansas trailed by double digits until the 11:35 mark in the second half. Miami would consistently answer Arkansas’ scoring rallies with points of their own.
“They did have an answer for everything and I think that we shot our ourselves in the foot,” Anderson said. “We had some turnovers at inopportune times and we ended up with 16. Some of those were in the second half. And of course they would capitalize on them. I thought that Vernon Jennings was the one that ran the show on that basketball team. He got the ball to Hemlsey and he made five field goals, all threes.”
Teddy Gipson led the way for the Hogs with 14 points, 12 of which were in the second half. Joe Johnson finished with 13 points and T.J. Cleveland had 10 points on the evening.
The Razorbacks trailed by 10 points at the half and were able to squeeze Miami’s lead to three with a minute to go.
“I think that this will bring big dividends for next year,” Anderson said. “The first game is the most important one is what we always tell our guys. When you come into a setting like this you have to bring the fight. It was a magical atmosphere because our fans were here in number and our kids were feeling good. It wasn’t because they didn’t try.”
The Hogs end the season by winning five out of their last six games including the 2000 Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship.