Rapid Reaction: Arkansas' magical March comes to a halt with Elite 8 loss to Duke
Arkansas came out fighting and gave a tough effort in an Elite 8 showdown vs. Duke. Unfortunately, a few too many cold stretches led to a loss as the Razorbacks make it back-to-back years of losing in the Elite 8.
The first crucial moment came to finish the first half of action. With Jaylin Williams on the bench with early fouls, Arkansas was doing its best to stay close and was 37-33 on a pair of Chris Lykes free throws. Unfortunately, Duke ended the half on an 8-0 run with Paolo Banchero netting a 3-pointer and dishing 2 assists, including 1 at the buzzer.
Coming out of the half with a 45-33 deficit, the Razorbacks did not fold. An and-1 bucket from Jaylin Williams on Banchero made it a 5-point game at 53-48 with 13:20 remaining. Arkansas was unable to capitalize on that momentum and golden opportunity with Duke rattling off a 10-0 run coming out of a timeout to establish control.
From there, the Razorbacks were essentially out of options. JD Notae – who started strong in the game – went cold for stretches in the second half. He eventually found out with 3:47 left after 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Jaylin Williams had another double-double and led the Hogs with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Stanley Umude added 14 points for Arkansas.
On the other side of things, Arkansas was unable to slow down Duke’s big men and interior presence. The Blue Devils finished 54.7% from the field and 16-for-18 from the free-throw line in the 78-69 win to advance to the Final Four.
AJ Griffin led Duke with an efficient 18 points while Mark Williams had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds while also terrorizing the Razorbacks defensively with 3 blocks. Banchero finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.