FAYETTEVILLE — Duke coach Jon Scheyer has been inside many big-time college basketball environments.
It is what happens when the Blue Devils come to town.
Scheyer was a guard for Duke from 2006-10. He has been on the Blue Devils’ coaching staff for the past nine years, including the last two as head coach.
Wednesday night’s record crowd at Bud Walton Arena, Scheyer said after the game, stacks up well against other road venues he has been in. An announced 20,344 were on hand to watch Arkansas take down the seventh-ranked Blue Devils 80-75.
“I’ve been so thankful just in 15 years to see a lot of great environments, playing the ACC, Big Ten, different games in the ACC,” Scheyer said. “This is right up there. They had a big-time crowd. I love being in environments like this. This is why you come to Duke. That’s why you coach here. That’s why you play here. To play on the road in a hostile environment and playing against a really good team.
“But you want to win these games, too, so credit them. I thought their crowd was big-time and the environment was great.”
More from WholeHogSports: Full coverage of the Razorbacks' 80-75 win over No. 7 Duke
He was asked if the crowd rattled his team, which is young relative to a transfer-heavy Arkansas squad.
“I don’t care if you’re experienced or not, I don’t think you see many environments like this,” Scheyer said. “Like, it’s a different kind of thing. Our freshmen, I thought they needed to experience this.”
Bud Walton Arena provided another example of the Duke treatment. It is not the first time an arena has been sold out because the Blue Devils were in town.
But Scheyer said his sophomores — which include starters Mark Mitchell, Tyrese Proctor and Kyle Filipowski — and others should be able to handle it.
“Their’s is great,” Scheyer said of Arkansas’ home-court advantage. “But we’ve been in some big-time environments, where you need them to provide the poise and the toughness. Like, they have it. [Layden] Blocker’s really the only guy that’s a freshman and hasn’t seen something like this and he wasn’t fazed and did a really good job.
“Credit them. They’re old and they played like it. I thought tonight they really played together. They played like they really needed each other tonight.”
Scheyer said he knew his team would be catching a team in dire need of a victory. The Razorbacks had lost 3 of their last 4 games, including a surprising 78-72 loss to North Carolina-Greensboro the last time they played on Nolan Richardson Court.
“We knew they would be incredibly hungry, desperate for this game,” Scheyer said. “They had a couple of tough losses. We have a lot of respect for their talent, coaching and what they do. Even with Mark being out, we knew it would be an incredibly difficult game.
“But we expected to win, so the loss is disappointing.”