Tom Murphy is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
In The Lane:
Musselman a bit surprised by attendance
Arkansas fans are shown Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021 during the Razorbacks' 93-78 win over Arkansas-Little Rock in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Attendance for the Arkansas Razorbacks’ home games versus the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas-Little Rock was listed at 19,200 for both games since all tickets at Bud Walton Arena are sold for the season.
However, the crowds were considerably short of sellouts in both instances and Coach Eric Musselman pointed that out.
“I’m a little surprised at the attendance quite frankly, that we didn’t have more people in here for two in-state games,” Musselman said on the Razorback Sports Network postgame show. “I think that part of the reason you play these games is to drive excitement in the building.”
Musselman asked for a big crowd for Tuesday’s game against North Carolina-Charlotte, the Razorbacks’ last until hosting Elon on Dec. 21.
“We can get some people in the building on Tuesday night, especially since we don’t play [at home] for some time,” Musselman said. “Hopefully the tickets are used and we can get this building rocking a little bit.”
Arkansas guard Au’Diese Toney continued a hot shooting streak while scoring a team-high tying 18 points against the Trojans
Toney made 6 of 7 shots to improve to 40 of 58 on the season for 68.9% shooting.
The 6-6 guard from Hunstville, Ala., has made 36 of 45 shots (80%) in his last six games.
Arkansas guard Davonte Davis established a career high in assists in Saturday’s 93-78 win over Arkansas-Little Rock and he needed only a half to do it.
Davis had all seven of his assists in the first half as the Razorbacks opened a 49-34 lead over the Trojans.
“I thought he played on a different level,” Coach Eric Musselman said. “For him to go out and have seven assists and zero turnovers, quite frankly he played flawlessly at the 1.”
The sophomore from Jacksonville now has 27 assists against 16 turnovers on the season.
UALR dressed out only six scholarship players among its eight healthy players as a series of injuries have beset the Trojans.
However, the UALR bench managed to outscore its Arkansas counterparts 35-32 on the strength of 23 points from Marko Lukic and 12 points from Marko Andric.
“We are a short-handed team, but I’m happy the way my team committed and the way we played,” UALR Coach Darrell Walker said. “We are a physically banged up team right now.”
The Razorbacks held a big edge in the open court, outscoring the Trojans 21-5 in fastbreak points.
Arkansas’ domination was typified by JD Notae’s steal in the lane on the UALR end and open-floor run down the court where he lead a 2-on-1 with Jaylin Williams. Notae passed on the layoff for a potential Williams dunk and converted a left-hand layup high off the glass for a 78-67 Arkansas lead at the 6:42 mark.
The Razorbacks’ 49-point first half, which featured 61.3% shooting on 19 of 31 field goals, was its top scoring opening half of the season.
Arkansas had not posted a 49-point first half since a 101-73 win at South Carolina on March 2, 2021.
Sam on screen
Arkansas football Coach Sam Pittman was shown on the big screens during a timeout in the first half, and the second-year coach received a rousing standing ovation and pats on the backs from fans as he came down the aisle.
The Razorbacks, who wrapped up an 8-4 regular season with a 34-17 win over Missouri in the Battle Line Rivalry on Black Friday, hosted six football recruits at the game. Arkansas learns its bowl destination today.
The game was delayed for at least five minutes midway through the second half as the officials reviewed a tangle between UALR’s Isaiah Palermo and Arkansas’ Davonte Davis.
The incident occurred on the Trojan’s offensive end as Palermo moved to the right elbow to set a pick on Davis with his arms high. Davis raised his arm, got locked up with Palermo with his arm behind Palermo’s neck and pushed the 6-5 guard away. Davis was called for a foul, which was the end result after the lengthy video review.
Arkansas improved to 27-0 all-time against opponents from Arkansas, per HogStats.com.
The tightest margin of victory came in a 67—64 win over Arkansas State in the NIT on March 13, 1987 at Barnhill Arena.
The Trojans wrapped up a very long six-game road trip with their first meeting against Arkansas.
UALR ventured to five states in four different time zones during the road swing, with more than 7,500 miles in travel to California (Loyola-Marymount), Florida (Sam Houston and Northern Illinois in the Jacksonville Classic), Oklahoma (Tulsa), Colorado (Colorado State) and Northwest Arkansas.
7 on 7
The opening tip featured a pair of 7-footers for the first time this season in a Razorback game.
Arkansas’ 7-3 Connor Vanover won the jump ball over 7-foot Admir Besovic with a tap in his backcourt to guard Davonte Davis.
The Razorbacks employed the same starting lineup for the seventh consecutive game of guards Davonte Davis, JD Notae and Au’Diese Toney and forwards Connor Vanover and Jaylin Williams.
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