Freshman Davonte Davis came off the bench for Arkansas against Ole Miss, then JD Notae provided the points and Connor Vanover blocked any comeback.
The result of all that was a 74-59 win by the Razorbacks in a complete team effort.
And it all started happening in the first half when Davis checked in with 15:52 left in the first half and the Hogs trailing, 9-5.
“He’s such a great energy guy for us,” Eric Musselman said later. “He comes in, he gets loose balls, tracks down rebounds that are out of his area. He did a really good job from a defensive standpoint.”
Davis also did a pretty good job on offense, too. He got 14 points, six rebounds and had two steals but maybe more important it seemed he had as many just disruptions that created unforced errors by Ole Miss.
Whether that’s even a stat anywhere or not I have no idea, but the Rebels’ offense couldn’t do much when Davis was on the floor. It often appeared he was everywhere at once.
It really showed up as the Hogs held the Rebels to 1-of-16 on three-pointers, an area Musselman has been frustrated with since the start of the season.
“Devo was phenomenal with that,” he said about Davis’ guarding the arc. “It was the first time defensively since that we kind of looked like last year’s team from the perimeter.
“Desi (Sills) did a good job running guys off. (Jalen) Tate did a great job running guys off the three-point line.”
Notae also started putting up points, too, after getting a green light from Musselman.
“Coach said if I’m open, shoot the ball,” he said later.
Notae did that, putting up 19 points (including 3-of-6 on three-pointers) and he also got five rebounds.
With Davis and others shutting down Ole Miss’ outside game, Vanover pretty much blocked any chance of going inside. He had five blocks, according to the stat sheet.
“I think I had more than that,” Vanover said later. “There were a couple of tips they didn’t count.”
Now the focus will be on the SEC-Big 12 Challenge matchup over in Stillwater against Oklahoma State on Saturday. Musselman was anxious to put the win over the Rebels in the rear-view mirror and look ahead to the weekend.
“Good ballgame for us, good win in conference and now we just have to get ready for the last non-conference game,” he said.
He’s on social media and it’s a solid bet he knew what the Lunatic Fringe was saying after bad road losses to Alabama and LSU a couple of weeks.
As I suspected, those were two very good teams and things would turn around.
Musselman made some adjustments and now the Hogs have a three-game SEC winning streak.
Oklahoma State is square in the middle of the pack in the Big 12.
And Musselman wants to keep the momentum going.