SWEET 16 AGAIN!!!! Council, Davis lead Hogs by Kansas
DES MOINES, Iowa – For the third straight season, the Razorbacks are headed back to the Sweet 16 with a 72-71 win over top-seeded Kansas (ranked #4.5) on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
It also marked the third straight year Arkansas faced a #1 seed and the Razorbacks are 2-1 in such games – falling to Baylor in the 2021 Elite 8, defeating overall #1 seed Gonzaga in the 2022 Sweet 16 and defeating Kansas Saturday in the second round.
Devo Davis was spectacular in the second half and Ricky Council IV was clutch down the stretch. Davis poured in 25 points, including 21 in the second half, to help erase a 12-point deficit in the second half. After Davis fouled out late, Council sealed the victory by scoring 11 of the Hogs’ final 15 points, including the final five from the line.
A Jordan Walsh 3-pointer with just under nine minutes remaining capped an 11-0 run and put Arkansas in front for the first time since scoring the game’s first points. The run set up a back-and-forth final stretch.
Davis’ 25 led all scorers and was one shy of his career-best. His outstanding second half saw him go 7-for-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Davis’ seven field goals were half of the Hogs’ 14 in the second half. Council scored 11 of his 21 points in the second half. Kamani Johnson was key late with a putback to give Arkansas the lead to go along with 10 rebounds – his most as a Razorback.
Walsh added 10 points and three rebounds off the bench. He was perhaps the team’s MVP in the two games as he was +34 in the games combined, games Arkansas combined to win by 11 points.
Arkansas advances to the program’s 14th Sweet 16 and will take on the winner of UConn/St. Mary’s at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas next week.
FIRST HALF: Arkansas: 27 – Kansas: 35
- Arkansas scored first but Kansas answered with an 11-0 run and maintained the lead for the rest of the half.
- The difference in the half was Kansas shot 50% (14-of-28) from the field while Arkansas shot 35.7% (10-of-28).
- Both teams struggled from deep. Arkansas was1-o-f9 from 3-point and Kansas was 1-of-7.
- Ricky Council IV led Arkansas with 10 points, going 3-of-3 at the line. Davonte Davis led Arkansas with four rebounds.
- Jalen Wilson led Kansas with nine points.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas: 45 – Kansas: 36
- Arkansas came out hot to start the second half, cutting the deficit to four a minute and a half into the period. Kansas quickly righted the ship and pushed its lead to 12 with 15:20 left. The Jayhawks also led by 10 (51-41) after a Grady Dick 3-pointer with 12:35 left.
- From that point, Arkansas went on an 11-0 run – five points from Davis, four from Makhi Mitchell and a dagger 3-pointer by Jordan Walsh to put the Hogs up 52-51 with 8:54 left.
- Dajuan Harris answered with a 3-pointer at 8:08 and Kansas did not give up the lead for the next seven minutes – although Arkansas did tie the game three times (55-55 with 7:01 left; 61-61 at 4:14 and 65-65 at 1:43).
- With 47 seconds left, Kamani Johnson had his second huge tip-in of the year to put the Hogs up two (67-65). Wilson made two free throws for Kansas to tie the game before Council took over for the final 23 seconds.
- With the game tied, Council made one free throw then missed the second – his only miss of the game. However, the ball was tipped around, namely by Jordan Walsh, and Council got the loose ball. He was fouled again and made both free throws for a three-point lead.
- Wilson made two free throws to cut the Kansas deficit to one with eight ticks left. Council pushed the lead back to three with two free throws with seven seconds left. Wilson was fouled with three seconds left and he made both, although he tried to miss the second one. Arkansas inbounded the ball and ran out the clock for the win.
- Kamani Johnson had seven second-half rebounds.
- Arkansas was down eight at halftime. Entering the game, the Kansas Jayhawks were 47-0 all time in the NCAA Tournament when leading by at least 8 points at halftime.
- Arkansas’ starting lineup was Anthony Black – Nick Smith Jr. – Davonte Davis – Ricky Council IV – Kamani Johnson for the third time. Arkansas used that lineup in the SEC Tournament win over Auburn and in the NCAA opening-round win over Illinois.
- Arkansas won the tip.
- Ricky Council IV scored the first points for Arkansas, a layup at 18:25.
- Jordan Walsh was the first Razorback sub.
- Arkansas has won five of the last seven versus Kansas, but the Jayhawks own an 8-6 advantage in the all-time series. Arkansas is 1-1 versus Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.
- Arkansas is 12-10 in NCAA second round games and has won three straight.
- Arkansas is 50-34 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
- Eric Musselman has led his teams two three straight Sweet 16’s and in four of the last five NCAA Tournaments held. He is 8-2 as head coach at Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament, 10-5 overall in the NCAA Tournament and 25-12 in all postseason games (conference tourneys, CBI and NCAA).
- Arkansas won despite trailing at the half, with five minutes left and with two minutes left. The Hogs are 5-6 this year when trailing at the half, 3-9 when trialing with 5:00 left and 2-11 when trailing with 2:00 left.
- Devo Davis has scored double-digit points in seven of his 10 NCAA Tournament games. The 25 points were his best effort in an NCAA game.
- With wins over Gonzaga last year and Kansas this year, Arkansas is 2-9 in the NCAA Tournament versus #1 seeds.
- This is just the second time Arkansas has advanced to a Sweet 16 when being seeded lower than fifth. Arkansas also advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1996 as the #12 seed before losing to top-seed UMass.
- This was the first win over an AP #4 team since the Razorbacks defeated Tennessee in the 2008 SEC Tournament. Arkansas is 6-13 all-time versus AP #4 and 3-3 in neutral-site games.
- Makhi Mitchell has been impressive in the postseason. He is 18-of-22 from the field with 21 rebounds.
- Ricky Council IV has made 165 free throws this season to tie Todd Day for 8th on the Razorback single-season list.
- With 37:13 minutes played, Anthony Black set the program record for most minutes by a Razorback freshman with 1,216. (The previous mark was 1203 by Patrick Beverley in 2006-07.) He also holds the record for most steals by a Razorback freshman with 69. With 179 free throws made, he is only five shy of the Razorback freshman record of 186.
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