Razorbacks Eric Musselman has his teaching points, so just take win

[Sports Illustrated] Razorbacks Eric Musselman has his teaching points, so just take win

While fans were squirming at halftime, it ended up a 76-58 win in season opener

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas's first half wasn't particularly great, but the finish was okay.

The result was a 76-58 win over North Dakota State in the season opener Monday night before a packed student section that was loud.

"The student section was our player of the game," Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said later.

Despite some things Musselman will want to fix, it was a win. Hogs fans should just take and look to Fordham on Friday night.

Arkansas Razorbacks forward Trevon Brazile drives in the late against North Dakota State. (Andy Hodges / allHOGS Images)

Especially considering freshman Nick Smith didn't play at all and the other talented freshmen struggled to score at times.

"He's injured," is all Musselman said. He didn't leave a lot of room for debate.

An earlier press release from the UA said he was out because of "knee management," which is about as clear of a comment that we're going to get for awhile. He was on the court during warmups throwing passes to teammates.

The first half problem wasn't the defense. They held the Bison to 5-of-21 on 3-pointers and 33% from the field for the entire night.

"We had a goal of trying to hold them to five threes or less," Musselman said. "That was written on the board. It was talked about all week. So I thought we did a really good job defending the three."

Sophomore Trevon Brazile recorded his first career double-double with a career-high 21 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Transfer Ricky Council IV and Davonte Davis also played key roles in the win.

Council scored a game-high 22 points, his fifth career 20-point game, and Davis added 18 points with six rebounds. Anthony Black had seven rebounds and three steals. Makhi Mitchell also had three steals.

Boden Skunberg and Grant Nelson each had 17 points to lead the Bison.

"We need to get a lot better defending the star player and for them to understand how successful we’ve been over three years defending the other team’s best player," Musselman said, referring to Nelson. "An area of concern."

Nelson's night was one of the few bright spots for North Dakota State. It also gives Musselman another teaching point.

"We’ve got to do a better job of understanding when we play against a star to try to shrink the floor and dig a little bit better," Musselman said. :Nelson was really, really good offensively for them."

Their get their shot to start fixing things this week.

The Hogs also didn't play Jalen Graham and about all Musselman said about that was call it a coach's decision. There weren't any more details coming.

Fordham is next on the schedule, Friday at 7 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

First Half Summary

• Arkansas opened the scoring and raced out to a 9-2 lead.

• Arkansas never trailed in the period although NDSU tied the game at 14-14 and 19-19.

• NDSU got to within two (26-24) with 3:00 to play before the Razorbacks went on an 8-0 run – thanks to a 3-pointer and alley-oop dunk from Trevon Brazile – to take its largest lead (34-24).

• Ricky Council and Devo Davis led Arkansas, each with eight points. Brazile added seven points and seven rebounds.

• Arkansas forced nine first-half turnovers thanks to two steals from Black.

• Boden Skunberg led NDSU with 10 points and Andrew Morgan had seven rebounds.

Second Half Summary

• Up seven (37-30) with 18:29 left, Arkansas went on a 13-1 run – including an 11-0 run to close the stretch to lead 18 (49-31). Brazile had seven points and Council four during the run.

• Council drained a 3-poniter from the right corner to give the Hogs their largest lead of 21 points (56-35) with 11:35 left)

• The Bison battled back with a 10-0 run to make the score 56-45 with 8:43 left. Council ended the run with a layup.

• NDSU was down 13 with 3:59 left before Arkansas went on a 9-1 run to lead by 21 with nine ticks left. However, the Bison made a 3-pointer with three seconds left to provide the 18-point margin.

Game Notes

• Arkansas’ starting lineup was Anthony Black – Davonte Davis – Ricky Council IV – Kamani Johnson – Makhi Mitchell.

• Arkansas won the tip. Arkansas is 49-14 in the Eric Musselman era when winning the tip.

• Arkansas’ Davonte Davis scored the game’s first points, going 1-of-2 at the FT line at 19:47. Arkansas is 44-11 when scoring first in the Eric Musselman era.

• Trevon Brazile was the first Razorback sub.

• Arkansas has won 47 of the last 49 season openers dating back to 1974-75 with both losses coming on neutral courts. One was the 1994-95 opener when preseason #1 Arkansas fell to preseason #3 UMass (104-80) in the Tipoff Classic (Springfield, Mass.). The other was the 2018-19 season opener in El Paso versus Texas (77-73 in OT) in the ESPN Armed Forces Classic.

• Arkansas has won 49 straight home openers dating back to 1974-75.

• Arkansas is a perfect 30-0 in Bud Walton Arena for home openers.

• Eric Musselman is 8-0 in both home and season openers.

• Arkansas wore its 1994 Throwback uniforms. The Hogs are 21-6 in those uniforms in the Eric Musselman era.

• Arkansas is 2-0 all-time versus NDSU and improves to 21-2 versus current Summit League members.

• Arkansas is 135-40 all-time in November, including a 16-0 mark under Eric Musselman.

• Brazile’s 12 rebounds are the most by a Razorback in a season opener in the Eric Musselman era.

Summaries and game notes from Arkansas Communications.

HOGS FEED:

RAZORBACK WOMEN WIN SEASON OPENER OVER UAPB

RICKY COUNCIL, TREVON BRAZILE PACE STRONG SECOND HALF AS RAZORBACKS WIN SEASON OPENER

NICK SMITH WILL BE HELD OUT OF ND STATE GAME WITH INJURY

SEC SHORTS DOES WELLNESS CHECK ON RAZORBACK FANS AND OTHER TEAMS FROM THE WEEKEND.

WELL, KJ JEFFERSON SAID HE WAS OKAY, SO RAZORBACKS COACH SAM PITTMAN ROLLED WITH HIM

NORTH DAKOTA STATE COULD BE EDUCATIONAL AND A LITTLE FRUSTRATING

MOST ANTICIPATED BASKETBALL SEASON IN DECADES STARTS MONDAY

PAIR OF RAZORBACKS ARRESTED IN HOURS FOLLOWING LIBERTY LOSS

DON'T BELIEVE YOUR LYIN' EYES BECAUSE KJ JEFFERSON REALLY DIDN'T SCORE

SATURDAY SHOWS BROOKS, FOUCHA MADE RIGHT DECISION TO TRANSFER TO LSU

ARKANSAS FANS IRATE FROM START TO FINISH SATURDAY

SEC ROUND-UP: LIST FOR AUBURN COACH GROWING, PLUS MORE

GUIDE TO NOT MESSING UP PERFECT SPORTS WEEKEND

HOGS LOOKING TO SHOW TEXAS GAME NOT WHO THEY ARE

GONZAGA MOVING TO BIG 12 MIGHT NOT BE BEST THING FOR RAZORBACKS

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