FAYETTEVILLE — The 2022-23 season is finally upon us, with the Arkansas basketball team hosting North Dakota State on Monday to get things started.
It’s the first game of arguably the most hyped season since the Razorbacks were the defending national champions, as they are No. 10 in the preseason AP Poll and considered a title contender at sportsbooks.
However, the opener comes on the heels of some bad news. Less than four hours before tipoff, the UA announced that star freshman Nick Smith Jr. would not play against the Bison because of a knee injury. It is a “precautionary” move, according to the press release, but there is no timetable for his return.
Best of Arkansas Sports is at Bud Walton Arena and will provide updates from the Arkansas vs North Dakota State matchup below. In the meantime, click here to read our full preview.
Pregame Tidbits – Arkansas vs North Dakota State
Here’s radio color analyst and former assistant coach Matt Zimmerman’s pregame preview of the matchup:
With about 30 minutes until tip, the lower level of the student section is nearly full. A majority of the students are wearing white No. 6 jerseys (as in “sixth man”) handed out by the UA.
In addition to Nick Smith Jr. being out of the starting lineup, Jordan Walsh, Trevon Brazile and Jalen Graham are also out of the starting lineup after starting the two exhibitions. The only player still in the lineup after starting the exhibitions is Anthony Black.
In their place, Davonte Davis, Ricky Council IV, Makhi Mitchell and Kamani Johnson are starting. It will be Johnson’s second career start, as he also started against Missouri last season.
There was a moment of silence before the game to honor Ron Huery, the Arkansas great who passed away over the weekend.
Arkansas has unveiled new Elite Eight banners at Bud Walton Arena, which of course feature to the latest trips – 2021 and 2022.
15:49, 1H – Arkansas 11, North Dakota State 8
Arkansas won the opening tip and Devo Davis was fouled on a floater to start the game. He made 1 of 2 free throws for the first point of the season.
On the other end, Ricky Council IV picked the pocket of an NDSU player and took the all the way to the rim for a tough layup. After a bucket by the Bison, Anthony Black blew by his defender for a layup.
The Razorbacks aren’t having many issues getting high-percentage looks on offense and they’re giving North Dakota State all sorts of issues on defense. They’ve forced four turnovers on NDSU’s first five possessions.
It’s the Council show early on. He hit a turnaround jumper to beat the shot clock on one possession and then made a tough reverse layup on a nice feed by Mitchell. He’s got 6 of the first 9 points for Arkansas.
Trevon Brazile is the first guy off the bench, replacing Johnson at the 16:23 mark.
A nice three-point play by the Bison pulled them within 1, but Mitchell answered by showing off some fancy footwork to get a layup.
11:48, 1H – Arkansas 16, North Dakota State 14
Jordan Walsh checks in for Black at the 15:34 mark. He’s the second player off the bench.
Offensively, the game plan seems to be to attack the rim. All eight of Arkansas’ attempts so far have been inside the arc and, I believe, all but one was in the paint. That doesn’t include three times it has drawn a foul and gotten to the free throw line.
NDSU has scored six straight points – the latest on a 3-point – to tie it up at 14. Arkansas has struggled to finish at the rim on its last few trip. The Bison actually had a chance to take the lead, but missed a shot. Mitchell scored on the other end to put the Hogs back on top, but promptly committed his second foul with 12:06 left in the half.
Devo Davis seemingly made a nice move on a drive to the basket, but was whistled for an offensive foul, sending us to the second media timeout.
7:51, 1H – Arkansas 19, North Dakota State 17
The first 3-point attempt by Arkansas comes with a little over 10 minutes remaining and it was an air ball by Brazile.
Good hustle by Davis prevented NDSU from capitalizing on a fast break that would have given it the lead for the first time. The Razorbacks ended up getting the stop and Walsh made a really nice move to get to the basket for a layup.
With 8:19 left in the half, Johnson is called for a flop, which is now an automatic technical. The ensuing free throw once again pulls NDSU within two.
Davis dribbled the ball off his foot and a jump ball followed, with the Bison getting possession. It’s the fifth turnover of the game by Arkansas and takes us to the under-8 media timeout.
4:44, 1H – Arkansas 24, North Dakota State 21
Johnson picks up his second foul while setting a screen. Mitchell checks back in despite having two fouls.
NDSU briefly tied it up at 19, but a layup by Davis put Arkansas back on top. Mitchell appeared to get a clean block on the other end, but Walsh fouled on the play – his second of the half.
Joseph Pinion is the third guy off the bench for Arkansas and promptly fouls a 3-point shooter. That possession came after NDSU missed both free throws following the Walsh foul and got the offensive rebound. Not a whole lot going right for the Hogs at the moment.
Jacari White made 2 of 3 free throw to once again tie it up, but Davis again answered with a tough layup. He’s up to 6 points on 2 of 3 shooting.
North Dakota State calls a timeout after a foul that sent Brazile to the free throw line.
3:35, 1H – Arkansas 26, North Dakota State 21
For the first time since the 14:31 mark, Arkansas leads by more than one possession. It comes thanks to a pair of free throws by Brazile with 4:44 left in the half to make it a five-point game.
Derrian Ford has checked into the game. That means the only freshman (other than Smith) who hasn’t played is Barry Dunning Jr.
NDSU air balled a 3, but saved the ball and Walsh was whistled for his third foul, sending us to the under-4 media timeout.
HALF – Arkansas 34, North Dakota State 26
After NDSU pulled back within two, Brazile knocked down Arkansas’ first 3 of the game.
A lob from Black leads to a dunk by Brazile. That fires up the crowd and stretches the Hogs’ lead to seven. A free throw by Black then gave Arkansas its largest lead of the night.
Davis knocked down a turnaround jumper with the shot clock winding down to make it an 8-0 run by the Hogs. NDSU did snap the run before the half, but Arkansas still heads to the locker room with an eight-point lead.
HALFTIME STATS – Arkansas vs North Dakota State
16:09, 2H – Arkansas 48, North Dakota State 31
Arkansas opens the second half with the same lineup it started the game with.
Davis starts the scoring in the second half with a contested layup high off the glass. He’s up to 10 points.
Mitchell picks up his third foul at the 19:19 mark. He’s immediately replaced by Brazile. Johnson is also called for an early foul, but it’s only his second – the flopping technical in the first half did not count as a personal foul.
There have been five combined fouls in the first 2 minutes of the second half.
Council gets to 10 points on an explosive drive to the basket and then Brazile hits a corner 3 to give Arkansas a 12-point lead, its largest of the night. On the next possession, Brazile pump faked a 3, drove to the hoop and finished through contact. He completed the 3-point play to give him a team-high 13 points to go along with his 7 rebounds.
Another tough layup by Council gives him 12 points and prompts a timeout by NDSU. The crowd is on its feet and calling the Hogs with the team in the midst of a 10-0 run.
15:39, 2H – Arkansas 48, North Dakota State 31
After a steal by Black (his third of the game), Brazile nearly put someone on a poster, but was fouled and didn’t make the dunk. He’ll be at the free throw line when play resumes after the under 16 media timeout.
10:54, 2H – Arkansas 56, North Dakota State 38
Black needs to be helped off the court after picking up his third foul of the game. He’s heading to the locker room with a trainer.
A drive and dunk by Brazile snaps a 2.5-minute scoring drought by Arkansas and then Council threw down a reverse dunk.
Rebounds on back-to-back NDSU possession for Brazile has him one shy of a double-double.
A corner 3 by Council gives him a team-high 17 points, one ahead of Brazile. He’s been pretty impressive.
At some point, Barry Dunning Jr. checked in for his first collegiate action.
6:32, 2H – Arkansas 62, North Dakota State 47
Walsh fouls out going for a rebound. Seemed like a quick whistle. He finishes with 4 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists, and he was plus-12 in 18 minutes.
Arkansas had stretched its lead to 21 at one point, but back-to-back dunks – the second of which was an and-one – has helped NDSU go on a 10-0 run.
Black has reemerged from the locker room and checks back in at the 8:17 mark. An and-one layup by Council snapped the run by the Bison, but he missed the free throw.
A textbook move in the post gives Mitchell a basket and then, on a possession that started with him blocking a shot that would have pulled NDSU within single digits, Council is fouled on a drive to the basket and finished anyways. He’ll try to complete the 3-point play when play resumes after the under 8 media timeout.
2:23, 2H – Arkansas 69, North Dakota State 54
If he can just stay out of foul trouble and consistently finish, Makhi Mitchell will be a nice piece for this Arkansas team. He has shown really good footwork around the basket. His latest bucket gives him 8 points on 4 of 5 shooting in about 15 minutes of action.
Brazile finally grabs his 10th rebound to give him a double double, but appeared to roll his ankle. He’s able to walk off the court under his own power, though. He’s got 18 points and 10 rebounds.
FINAL – Arkansas 76, North Dakota State 58
Brazile is still in the game out of the timeout and grabbed his 11th rebound on a missed free throw. That’s a career high for the sophomore, topping the 10 he had against Georgia while at Missouri last year.
Brazile caps his night with another 3 inside the final minute.
FINAL STATS – Arkansas vs North Dakota State
Starting Lineups for Arkansas vs North Dakota State
|North Dakota State||Arkansas|
|#5 – G Luke Yoder – Jr. | 6-0 | 180||G Anthony Black – Fr. | 6-7 | 198|
|#12 – G Lance Waddles – Fr. | 6-3 | 180||G Davonte Davis – Jr. | 6-4 | 185|
|#14 – G Boden Skunberg – Jr. | 6-5 | 205||G Ricky Council IV – Jr. | 6-6 | 205|
|#4 – F Grant Nelson – Jr. | 6-11 | 235||F/C Makhi Mitchell – Sr. | 6-9 | 230|
|#23 – F Andrew Morgan – So. | 6-10 | 245||F Kamani Johnson – Sr. | 6-7 | 230|
How to Watch Arkansas vs North Dakota State
Date: Monday, Nov. 7
Location: Bud Walton Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)
Tipoff Time and TV Schedule: 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network-Plus)
Announcers: Brett Dolan and Manuale Watkins
ESPN BPI: Arkansas has a 97.7% chance of winning, favored by 24.5
Odds/Betting Line: Arkansas, -21.5 (BetOnline.ag)
Arkansas Basketball Roster
- #0 – G Anthony Black – Fr. | 6-7 | 198
- #1 – G Ricky Council IV – Jr. | 6-6 | 205
- #2 – F Trevon Brazile – So. | 6-10 | 212
- #3 – G Nick Smith Jr. – Fr. | 6-5 | 185
- #4 – G Davonte Davis – Jr. | 6-4 | 185
- #5 – G Joseph Pinion – Fr. | 6-5 | 190
- #11 – F Jalen Graham – Sr. | 6-9 | 225
- #12 – G Barry Dunning Jr. – Fr. | 6-6 | 195
- #13 – G/F Jordan Walsh – Fr. | 6-7 | 205
- #15 – F/C Makhi Mitchell – Sr. | 6-9 | 230
- #20 – F Kamani Johnson – Sr. | 6-7 | 230
- #21 – G Cade Arbogast – Jr. | 6-3 | 180 (walk-on)
- #22 – F/C Makhel Mitchell – Sr. | 6-10 | 240
- #23 – G Derrian Ford – Fr. | 6-3 | 205
- #45 – F Lawson Blake – So. | 6-10 | 225 (walk-on)
North Dakota State Basketball Roster
- #0 – G Dezmond McKinney – Jr. | 6-0 | 180
- #2 – G Tajavis Miller – Fr. | 6-4 | 190
- #4 – F Grant Nelson – Jr. | 6-11 | 235
- #5 – G Luke Yoder – Jr. | 6-0 | 180
- #10 – G Damari Wheeler-Thomas – Fr. | 6-0 | 175
- #11 – G Jacari White – So. | 6-3 | 170
- #12 – G Lance Waddles – Fr. | 6-3 | 180
- #14 – G Boden Skunberg – Jr. | 6-5 | 205
- #22 – F Joshua Streit – So. | 6-9 | 235
- #23 – F Andrew Morgan – So. | 6-10 | 245
- #24 – G Ryan Sletten – R-Fr. | 6-4 | 170
- #33 – F Sam Hastreiter – Fr. | 6-7 | 210
- #34 – F Noah Feddersen – Fr. | 6-10 | 230
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