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Arkansas avoids the first-round upset behind a gritty second-half effort and a spark provided by Devo Davis.
BUFFALO – Who remembers when the Razorbacks lost 5 out of 6 games earlier this season? The meltdown against Hofstra? Or starting conference play 0-3?
It sure seems like ages ago.
Arkansas quickly turned their season around behind a suffocating, team-oriented defense. Along with J.D. Notae (18.4 ppg) and Jaylin Williams (10.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg).
The remainder of the roster would rotate on who would be the “third star.” One night it would be Stanley Umude, and another, Au’Diese Toney.
Ultimately, the team found an identity and started to click. A staple of the Musselman era, hit a midseason slump, find a winning formula and get hot down the stretch.
The Muss Buss is now headed to the Round of 32 after avoiding an upset Thursday night.
The Hogs relied on its stifling defensive play and a spark from Devo Davis to earn a first-round victory over the Vermont Catamounts, 75-71, at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY.
The game was stressful, nerve-wracking, and at times, frustrating. But it’s March and the “Madness” is real.
Therefore, I will never complain about a win in March. No matter how ugly it may have been.
Notae, the Hogs’ leading scorer, was in foul trouble most of the night, resulting in reduced minutes.
Devo Davis provided a much-needed spark off the bench producing a stat line of 14 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Davis had a similar impact in last year’s first-round tournament game against Colgate.
Williams stayed true to form, logging a double-double, and Umude led all scorers with 21-points.
Umude also had a viral-worthy block late in the first half.
The Hogs will now set their sights on Saturday for their next round game against the New Mexico State Aggies. The Aggies are coming off a huge upset win over UCONN led by star player Teddy Allen’s 37-points.
The Razorbacks will look to make the Sweet-16 for the second consecutive year. Arkansas’ last back-to-back appearance in the Sweet-16 was 1995-1996.
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