Hill's Hamstring Limits Him

BATON ROUGE -- Before Saturday's game, Arkansas' training staff put center Steven Hill through an assortment of stretching and warm-up exercises.

He never seemed to get fully warm, though. He scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in the Razorbacks' 71-67 loss Saturday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Hill didn't exhibit his usual amount of intensity or leaping ability because of the second-degree hamstring pull he suffered in his left leg Wednesday.

"It obviously took away from my quickness and explosiveness," said Hill, who shot 1-of-5 from the field in 24 minutes.

The 7-foot junior practiced Friday, but he never became comfortable with his left hamstring. He admitted to playing a bit tentative against LSU.

"Steven wasn't Steven," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said.

Hill wasn't entirely ineffective. He still blocked four shots and affected a handful of others.

His steady progress has Hill confident in a full recovery by Wednesday night's game at Mississippi State.

"It's really, really improved day by day," Hill said, "and hopefully I'll be 100 percent by Wednesday."

Ervin's Big Second Half

For the second straight game, Arkansas point guard Gary Ervin exploded for a scoring outburst after struggling in the first half.

In Arkansas' victory Wednesday over Auburn, Ervin scored 18 points in the second half following a scoreless first 20 minutes. He went scoreless again in Saturday's first half.

But, again, he recovered. Ervin posted all 16 of his points in the second half. His two 3-pointers late in the second half gave Arkansas a 63-61 lead.

While happy with his second-half performance, Ervin said he hoped to produce in the first half a little more often as the season progresses.

"I just felt like it was my time to step up, like I said about (the last game)," Ervin said. "I tried to play better in the second half, but if I'm not going to be aggressive over the first 20 minutes, it's going to be hard for us to get a win."

Washington Contributes

Freshman Michael Washington gave Arkansas a boost in the first half, playing his first lengthy and productive spell during Southeastern Conference play.

Up until Saturday, the most minutes Washington had seen in an SEC game was four. But the 6-foot-10 forward was the second Razorback off the bench and logged six minutes before halftime.

Washington worked his way open three times underneath the LSU basket. He scored on assists by Patrick Beverley, Darian Townes and Gary Ervin. Two free throws in the second half helped Washington finish with a career-high eight points.

"He was a big plus for us," Arkansas forward Charles Thomas said. "Because of him, we were only down by one point at halftime."

Temple Drains Key Three

Arkansas went on a 12-4 run, closing LSU's lead to 56-54 on Thomas' three-point play with 5:29 left.

On the ensuing possession, facing pressure from Arkansas' zone trap, LSU guard Garrett Temple yanked back the momentum. Temple took a pass from Tasmin Mitchell and nailed a 22-footer, just before the shot clock expired.

"It was just one-on-one," Heath said. "He's (6-foot-5), and he went left and just raised up and shot it. Gary was right there. There wasn't a whole lot he could do. Once that kid raises up, at that size, you can't guard it."


Arkansas' entire coaching staff, Stan Heath included, wore white sneakers with their suits in honor of National Coaches vs. Cancer Day. ... Thomas found foul trouble in the first half, picking up three fouls and scoring no points in only six minutes of action. ... Beverley scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the first half.

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