Razorback basketball notebook: Brazile bounces back

Arkansas forward Trevon Brazile (2) goes up for a shot during a game against Duke on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas swingman Trevon Brazile had a big bounce-back game in the Razorbacks’ 80-75 win over No. 7 Duke on Wednesday night at Walton Arena after his scoreless showing last time out in the Bahamas.

Brazile finished with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4 of 7 from three-point range. His three-pointer from the left wing on a pass from Khalif Battle with 2:16 remaining gave Arkansas a 73-61 lead.

The 6-10 sophomore had gone 0 for 4 in a 21-minute stint in the Hogs’ 87-72 loss to North Carolina in the Bahamas on Friday.

Brazile sank a three-pointer from the right corner on a pass from El Ellis to give the Razorbacks a 7-5 lead in the early going and followed with a traditional three-point play moments later to get his night off to a hot start.

Super tight

The first half was nothing but tight between Arkansas and Duke late Wednesday as the teams were never separated by more than three points in the first ACC/SEC Challenge before an arena-record crowd of 20,344 at Walton Arena.

The Hogs’ 80-75 win gave Coach Eric Musselman his 100th win with the Razorbacks.

The teams had eight ties and 16 lead changes in the opening 20 minutes.

Both teams held three-point leads, the first by Duke at 19-16 and the last by the Blue Devils at 27-24 at the 5:15 mark. Arkansas led 22-19 on a Chandler Lawson free throw at the 7:10 mark.

Arkansas led 33-32 at the half, nearly matching the 34-33 lead the Razorbacks held at halftime in their 76-72 win over the Blue Devils in the 1994 NCAA championship game.

Arkansas forged the first lead of more than three points early in the second half on a Chandler Lawson dunk from El Ellis that made it 37-32 at the 18:32 mark.

Blocker stock

Arkansas freshman Layden Blocker made an immediate impact in his first action, scoring five points in a span of 2:22.

The scoring binge started with his soaring lay-in at the rim after a Duke turnover and was capped by his dunk on a feed by Khalif Battle after Chandler Lawson’s offensive rebound for a 19-19 tie.

The stretch could’ve been more productive but Blocker missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity at 9:38 and made 1 of 2 free throws at 9:07.

7-footer down

Duke 7-footer Kyle Filipowski, a projected lottery pick in the NBA Draft, barely got warmed up before he had to come out in the first half, but the big man heated up late.

Filipowski drew a reach-in foul at the 17:41 mark and drew another foul after a Davonte Davis offensive rebound at the 15:00 mark and was pulled out by Coach Jon Scheyer.

Filipowski returned later in the half and had 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting before finishing with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes.

‘Mark’ed out

Arkansas guard Tramon Mark was officially ruled out shortly before tipoff.

Mark, the Razorbacks’ leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, fell hard on his back with 1:21 remaining in Arkansas’ loss to North Carolina last Friday in the Bahamas.

Mark had joined Davonte Davis and Trevon Brazile as the only Razorbacks to start each of the first seven games.

Devo down

Arkansas guard Davonte “Devo” Davis came immediately off the floor at the 11:12 mark of the first half with holding a towel over his face. Davis was involved in a pile-up on the Arkansas offensive end when a loose ball ensued after his shot was blocked by Ryan Young.

Davis returned to the bench a few minutes later and checked back in at the 7:50 mark.

Duke domination

Duke brought an impressive 125-60 record against SEC teams into the game, including 2-2 against the Razorbacks.

The Blue Devils have played South Carolina the most among SEC competition and they hold a 57-20 edge on the Gamecocks. Duke has losing records against Kentucky (7-9) and Mississippi State (1-2), but they own advantages on the rest, including 8-3 against Alabama and 9-7 against Tennessee. The Blue Devils have never faced Ole Miss.

Time zones

Arkansas faced Duke in a fourth different time zone.

The Razorbacks and Blue Devils had previously played in the Eastern Time Zone in the 1994 NCAA championship game in Charlotte, N.C., a 76-72 win by Arkansas, and the 1990-91 preseason NIT in New York City; the Mountain Time Zone in Denver at the 1990 Final Four, and in the Pacific Time Zone in the West Regional final in San Francisco two seasons ago.

Bobby, Bobby

The Arkansas student section, which was loud all night, got Bobby Petrino fever at halftime after word spread the former Razorbacks coach and new offensive coordinator was at Walton Arena.

Petrino and Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman were spotted in a suite.

One student held a sign that read “Bobby’s Back!” And the section began chanting “Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!” at the half with the Hogs ahead 33-32.

Celebrity spotter

Former Razorback Scotty Thurman, who sank the three-point shot in the final minute that sealed Arkansas’ 76-72 win over Duke in the 1994 NCAA championship game, received a huge round of applause when he was shown on the video boards just before tipoff. Thurman is the head coach at Little Rock Parkview High School.

Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, who led the Razorbacks to that national title, was shown on the video boards just before the start of the second half. Richardson was greeted with a standing ovation and he rose to acknowledge the applause.

UALR Coach Darrell Walker sat court side, decked out in Trojans’ gear, and visited with Danyelle Musselman and others during the pregame.

Butch Davis, the Springdale native and long-time college football coach, was sitting courtside.

Former Duke standout Jay Bilas was on the ESPN broadcast along with play-by-play man Dan Shulman and reporter Kris Budden.

Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager Sam Presti attended the game with Thunder special assistant Nick Collison and many NBA scouts.

3 streak

Duke extended its streak of made three-point shots to 1,196 games, the second longest in the country, when guard Tyrese Proctor opened the scoring for the Blue Devils from beyond the arc on the left wing at the 18:35 mark.

The Blue Devils were last held without a made three-pointer on Dec. 30, 1989 versus Hawaii.

Arkansas’ three-point streak of 1,092 consecutive games with a made three-pointer had ranked in the top five when it came to an end in a 75-59 home win over South Carolina on Jan. 18, 2022.

Ties

Arkansas freshman guard Layden Blocker and Duke forward Mark Mitchell were teammates at Sunrise Academy in Belaire, Kan. The same school produced Kansas swingman Grady Dick.