HawgBeat – DeVoe Davis turns in a magical performance in a March win over Kansas
When Arkansas needed him most, Davonte Davis delivered during Saturday’s upset victory over single-ranked Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
A rookie guard and one of two scholarship players to return from last year’s roster, Davis showcases what head coach Eric Musselman wants in a basketball player. After being a key part of two consecutive Elite Eight appearances, Davis once again played an important role for the Razorbacks, who are bound for the Sweet Sixteen after a 72-71 win over the Jayhawks at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Jacksonville native scored a game-high 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and added eight rebounds and a block. Davis scored only four points in the first half, but his 21 points in the second half played a decisive factor in the Razorbacks victory.
After his team was down by 12 points in Game 1 in the first media timeout of the second half, Davis took over. At 15:17, he had only seven points for a team that was struggling to attack the basket and exposed the top Kansas men who were in trouble.
“That’s exactly what he did in March,” new goalkeeper Anthony Black told reporters. “He’s been doing it since (he was) a freshman. It was great for us today and it’s been great for us all year.”
The “March Devo” legend is well known to 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 played a pivotal role as a shut-in defender, averaging 31 minutes per game in the 2022 postseason. .
When his team needed him most, Davis turned him on and the March DeVoe was introduced to the world of college basketball again.
After this media timeout for the under-16s, Davis made his next three shots to score seven points and help narrow the lead to eight at 12:14. Less than two minutes later, he scored four more goals, including two at the free throw line that made Kansas’ lead 51-49.
“Yeah, Defo pretty much in the second half,” said guard Ricky Council IV. “I was in the first half and Defoe was in the second half, and I was in the corner ready to rebound if he messed up and wasn’t missing.”
Over the next six minutes of game time, Davis tied the game twice and made two trips to the line to hit three free throws, all while playing his signature defense on the other end.
Jordan Walsh told reporters, “No matter if he’s on the court scoring or hitting a hat-trick or making a bucket or if he’s coaching off the bench, he had a huge impact on the game and had a huge impact on the win.” .
He told reporters he didn’t feel he needed to take over the match, he was just doing what Musselman told him.
“Not really, just playing within the flow because Coach Moss said it’s going downhill,” Davies said. He was speaking within the entire group.
Even though he made a foul at the 1:56 mark, Davis was still coaching his teammates as he walked off the field. He was seen yelling off the bench for the last two minutes, giving Arkansas another coach on the sidelines.
Naturally, he was taking credit for everyone but himself after winning big.
“I feel like we all did something to help us win and I’m glad we did,” Davies said. “Ricky (Council) hit great free throws, and we had Nick (Smith) come in and play really good defense at the end of the game.
“Everyone contributed, even Coach Moss did the right way and stuff like that to help us. Even the coaches and the team contributed in some way to help us win.”
Musselman has said many times that he and Davies think on the same wavelength, and it often shows during matches. It was certainly on display when Davis said the job wasn’t done yet.
“I don’t know how to react, you know, but I know it feels good and I know guys who haven’t been a part of something like this, I know we feel like we’re on top of the world and we want to keep going and get better.” “Like Coach Moss said, we’re not done yet and I think we can keep getting better as the season goes on.”
In a post-game interview on CBS, Davis’ emotions were on full display as he realized how all his hard work had paid off up to this point.
“This team has struggled,” said Davis. “And we figured it out. I’m glad we did it at the right time and hope we can continue to do so.”
With the Sweet Sixteen on the horizon and plenty of work left to do, the Razorbacks are lucky to say they have Davis on their side.
“I’m going to say this about Defoe because I know a lot of people are talking about him or something,” Kamani Johnson told reporters. “Dave Davis is a pro. He’s a dog. He’s going to win. He’s a winner.”