When Arkansas needed him most, Devonte Davis delivered during Saturday’s upset win over 1-seed Kansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
A junior guard and one of two scholarship players who returned from the previous year’s roster, Davis demonstrated what head coach Eric Musselman looked for in a basketball player. Being a key part of two straight Elite Eight runs, Davis has once again played a key role for the Razorbacks, who tied for the Sweet Sixteen after a 72-71 win over the Jayhawks at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Are.
The Jacksonville native scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, and he added eight rebounds and one block. Davis scored just four points in the first half, but his 21 points in the second half played a key role in the Razorbacks’ victory.
After his team was down by a game-high 12 points before the first media timeout in the second half, Davis took matters into his own hands. By the 15:17 mark, he had just seven points for a team that was struggling to attack the basket and expose Kansas big men who were in foul trouble.
Freshman guard Anthony Black told reporters, “That’s what he does in March.” “He’s been doing it since (he) was a freshman. He was great for us today and he’s been great for us all year.”
The legend of “Mar Devo” is well known by Razorback fans after he averaged 33.8 minutes, 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in four tournament games as a freshman in 2021, and he served as a lockdown defender. Played a key role, averaging 31 minutes per game in 2022 postseason run.
Davis turned it on when his team needed him most, and the “March Devo” was rechristened to the college basketball world.
After that under-16 media timeout, Davis made his next three shots to score seven points and help cut the deficit to eight with 12:14 remaining. Less than two minutes later, he made four more field goals, including two at the free throw line, to increase the Kansas lead to 51–49.
“Yeah, Devo had a great second half,” said guard Ricky Council IV. “I was in the first half and Devo had the second half, and if he missed and he didn’t miss I was in the corner ready to come back.”
Over the next six minutes of playing time, Davis tied the game twice and made a pair of trips to the line to hit three free throws while playing his signature high-level defense on the other end.
Freshman Jordan Walsh told reporters, “It didn’t matter if he was on the court, scoring, shooting, making buckets or if he was on the bench coaching, he made a big impact on the game and He made a big impact on the win.” ,
He told reporters that he didn’t feel like he needed to take over the game, he was just doing what Musselman told him to do.
Davis said, “Not really, just playing within the flow because Coach Muss said go downhill.” “He was talking within the whole group.”
Although he fouled out at the 1:56 mark, Davis was still coaching his teammates as he walked off the court. He was seen yelling from the bench in the final two minutes, virtually giving Arkansas another coach.
Naturally, he gave credit to everyone except himself after the big win.
Davis said, “I think we all did something to help us win and I’m glad we did.” “Ricky (Council) sank the big free throw, we had Nick (Smith) coming in and played really good defense at the end of the game.
“Everybody contributed, coach Moose subbed right and things like that to help us. Even the coach and the team contributed in some way to help us win.” “
Musselman has said many times that he and Davis think on the same wavelength, and it often shows during games. It was certainly on display when Davis said the work was not over.
“I don’t know how to react, you know, but I know it feels good and I know people who haven’t been a part of this, I know we feel like we’re on top Are.” world and we want to continue and get better,” Davis said. “As Coach Muss was saying, we’re not done yet and I think we can continue to get better as the season goes on. “
In the post-game interview on CBS, Davis’ emotions were on full display as he realized how all his hard work had paid off to this point.
“This team has fought,” Davis said. “And we figured it out. And I’m glad we did at the right time and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
With the Sweet Sixteen on the horizon and plenty of work to be done, the Razorbacks are lucky to have Davis.
Kamani Johnson told reporters, “I’m going to say this about Devo, because I know a lot of people are talking about him or whatever.” “Devo Davis is a pro. He’s a dog. And he’s going to win. He’s a winner.”