Arkansas vs Troy: The Case for a Former Trojan vs the Alabaman Variety

Arkansas vs Troy
photo credit: Troy Athletics / Arkansas Athletics

LIVE UPDATES: Arkansas vs Troy

Pregame Tidbits

Junior Davonte Davis was not seen during Arkansas’ pregame warmups. He has started all six games this season and is the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 8.5 points per game. He also didn’t play in the second half against San Diego State. Eric Musselman has released the following statement: “Davonte Davis is taking some time away from basketball. He has our full support during this time.”

Star freshman Nick Smith Jr. went through the shootaround portion of Arkansas’ pregame that was about 1.5 hours before tipoff. He will make his collegiate debut tonight vs. Troy, according to Chuck Barrett on the UA pregame radio show.

Despite his availability, he’ll be coming off the bench. Instead, another freshman – Barry Dunning Jr. – will start in Davis’ place.

Duke Miles, a sophomore guard and Troy’s leading scorer at 14 ppg, is not in the starting lineup for the Trojans.

10:33, 1H – Troy 15, Arkansas 12

Makhi Mitchell scored the first six points of the game for the Razorbacks, who struggled with turnovers the first few minutes of the half. When Troy called a timeout at the 16:16 mark, he already had 6 points and 4 rebounds.

Nick Smith Jr. checked in at the 14:08 mark and promptly put up a 3, but it was way long and didn’t touch iron. He also missed his second shot. The anticipation can be felt in the crowd.

The Razorbacks are doing a decent job defensively, forcing six turnovers, but they are struggling mightily on offense. They’ve turned it over seven times themselves and are just 5 of 13 (38.5%) from the floor.

HALF – Troy 33, Arkansas 31

Troy controlled most of the first half, but a 10-2 spurt by the Razorbacks – capped by a steal and dunk by Ricky Council IV – briefly put them on top 28-27 with 3:41 left in the half.

However, the Trojans responded and take a lead into the locker room. Makhi Mitchell leads the way with 10 points and 9 rebounds for Arkansas. Nelson Phillips is the game’s leading scorer with 12 points on 4 of 9 shooting beyond the arc for the Trojans.

Both teams committed 10 turnovers in the first half.

HALFTIME STATS – Arkansas vs Troy

7:45, 2H – Troy 56, Arkansas 54

Anthony Black got a steal and a dunk, made 1 of 2 free throws and then had a 3-pointer fall to put the Hogs up 43-41 with 16;11 left. That is Arkansas’ largest lead of the night.

The Razorbacks actually stretched the lead to seven at one point, but back-to-back 3s a couple minutes later quickly tied the game back up. Following a turnover, Troy got a dunk to take the lead again.

FINAL – Arkansas 74, Troy 61

The Trojans went up by three before Arkansas answered with a 17-0 run highlighted by a *very* deep 3-pointer from Ricky Council IV as the shot clock wound down. He scored the 11 of the points on the run to give him 25 for the game.

Council punctuated the win with a monster dunk in a fast break, giving him 27.

FINAL STATS – Arkansas vs Troy

Starting Lineups – Arkansas vs Troy

#0 – G Kieffer Punter – Sr. | 6-5 | 175#0 – G Anthony Black – Fr. | 6-7 | 198
#2 – G Aamer Muhammad – Jr. | 6-1 | 195#1 – G Ricky Council IV – Jr. | 6-6 | 205
#11 – G Nelson Phillips – Sr. | 6-3 | 190#12 – G Barry Dunning Jr. – Fr. | 6-6 | 195
#10 – F Zay Williams – Sr. | 6-9 | 190#13 – G/F Jordan Walsh – Fr. | 6-7 | 205
#30 – F Christian Turner – So. | 6-7 | 220#15 – F/C Makhi Mitchell – Sr. | 6-9 | 230

Arkansas vs Troy Preview

FAYETTEVILLE — A pair of one-loss teams will square off inside Bud Walton Arena when the Arkansas basketball team hosts Troy on Monday.

The Trojans are off to a 6-1 start that includes a 79-72 upset of Florida State in Tallahassee, while the No. 9 Razorbacks are returning home after a third-place finish at the Maui Invitational.

They came up short against No. 10 Creighton, but bounced back with an overtime win against veteran-laden No. 17 San Diego State. Head coach Eric Musselman said he believes the prestigious three-day event, which started with a blowout win over Louisville, will prove beneficial for Arkansas moving forward.

“Sometimes even when you lose there are great learning lessons,” Musselman said. “Creighton, San Diego State, both teams are really well coached. I thought both teams really understood their roles really well this early in the season, so certainly a huge challenge for us and I thought our young team grew up over those three games.

“I think as we get into conference play, those games we will be able to reflect back on and use them as learning lessons.”

Now that the Razorbacks have returned stateside, they must quickly regroup to prepare for a solid opponent in Troy. Musselman acknowledged it will be a challenge to get his team refocused after an extended travel period.

“I think we have for sure as short of a turnaround as anybody, so that is of concern,” Musselman said Saturday. “I know sleep patterns are a little bit messed up right now for all of us, but hopefully by tomorrow night we’ll be a little bit more adjusted timeframe-wise.”

Arkansas will look to put any excuses in the rearview and is still favored by a significant margin on Monday night.

Here’s a deeper look at what you can expect in the upcoming Arkansas basketball game…

When Arkansas Has the Ball

The KenPom 39th-ranked Arkansas offense seemed to take a few important steps during the trip to Hawaii — most notably, the emergence of star freshman Anthony Black.

There was little doubt in the young guard’s potential, but his performance in all three games was outstanding, averaging 22.3 points on 55% shooting from the field along with notching 5 steals and grabbing 14 rebounds in the tournament.

“I didn’t really surprise myself,” Black said Saturday. “I know whenever the team needs me to score, I’m going to score and be aggressive in those big games.”

Even when he wasn’t scoring as well against San Diego State, Black served as a spark for the Razorbacks, drawing plenty of attention and sharing the ball efficiently.

Looking forward, Arkansas will continue to rely on multiple options offensively with three players scoring more than 13 points per game. Especially against lesser competition, the Razorbacks can use the athleticism of transfers Ricky Council IV (19 ppg) and Trevon Brazile to attack the rim. Brazile has also become a threat from the perimeter, knocking down six 3-pointers in his last two games.

One area that Troy holds a distinct advantage in is defensive rebounding. The Trojans rank 3rd in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, while the Hogs are 212th in pulling down offensive boards. This could lead to senior forward Kamani Johnson, a former UALR Trojan, seeing more time on the floor after his heroics late against San Diego State.

Regardless of who is on the floor, Arkansas should be able to score at a respectable clip Monday night. The only true concern is the lack of offensive rebounding can lead to long droughts when shots aren’t falling.

When Troy Has the Ball

When the ball is on the other end of the floor, expect the Trojans to rely on the perimeter play of sophomore Duke Miles and senior Nelson Phillips. Both guards are averaging 14 points and will look to get the ball to freshman forward Zay Williams down low.

Although Troy head coach Scott Cross leads a young team, his squad does a great job taking care of the ball, ranking 24th in the country in turnovers per possession and 4th in preventing steals. This will be worth watching against an Arkansas defense that has had success harassing teams with athleticism and high-energy defense that picks up at half court.

Miles will look to get going from behind the arc where he is shooting a scorching 47%. Unlike last season and much more similar to Musselman’s first team, Arkansas has been excellent defending the 3-point line, coming in with the 15th-best 3-point defense in the country.

“I know they’re gonna be hungry, I know they’re gonna come here to win,” Ricky Council IV said. “I know they’re a pretty good defensive team, so we’re just going to have to be ready. Can’t take anybody for granted, as we’re seeing around the country smaller schools are beating bigger schools…so we just can’t take them lightly.”

Prediction for Arkansas vs Troy

  • Kenpom: 80-61 
  • Haslametrics: 81.4-62.23

The metrics tell us to expect Arkansas to win this one with relative ease, but neither KenPom nor Haslametrics has the ability to factor in the challenges that come with returning from the Maui Invitational and quickly turning around to play a Monday night game.

If the Razorbacks come into this matchup focused, they should be able to take care of business. Troy’s best chance is to keep the Razorbacks pushed out to the perimeter on offense and continue their dominance on the defensive boards, but it is safe to expect an Arkansas victory in Fayetteville.

Arkansas 76, Troy 60

How to Watch Arkansas vs Troy

Date: Monday, Nov. 28

Location: Bud Walton Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)

Tipoff Time/TV Schedule: 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network)


More coverage of Arkansas basketball from BoAS…

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