Illinois’ 2022-23 campaign came to an end Thursday as the No. 9 seed Illini fell to No. 8 seed Arkansas 73-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Illinois head coach Brad Underwood gave credit to Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks.

“My hat’s off to Arkansas. They were better today and they were assertive early,” Underwood said to open his press conference. “I thought their defense early was the difference. We had a hard time getting into offense, and then every time we made a run we missed a layup, we turned it over, or missed free throws.

“We had opportunity. I love our team. They fought. They never hung their head. They never quit. We forget that we’re one of the youngest teams in the Power 5. We forget we lost so much from the last couple teams.”

Each team scored 37 points in the second half. The 10-point differential at the end of the first half (36-26) turned out to be the game’s final margin.

Underwood noted that turnovers helped decide the outcome. He also pointed to the Illini’s performance on the offensive glass. In total, Arkansas outrebounded Illinois 43-34.

“The one thing that was probably the most disappointing thing was 3 offensive rebounds for us,” Underwood said after the game. “Arkansas deserves the credit. They played better than we did today.”