Arkansas tops No. 7 Duke, Eric Musselman secures 100th win as Razorbacks head coach | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Wednesday / February 28.
  • Arkansas tops No. 7 Duke, Eric Musselman secures 100th win as Razorbacks head coach

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    By DYLAN LUTEY

    Arkansas defeated No. 7 Duke, 80-75, Wednesday night in a historic game which resulted in the SEC/ACC Challenge ending in a 7-7 tie. The victory also gave Eric Musselman 100 career wins at Arkansas.

    It was the first time the Blue Devils traveled to Bud Walton Arena in the history of their meetings — and their first road contest against an SEC opponent since 1992 when Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and company visited Shaquille O’Neal and LSU.

    “Really proud of our team without Tramon, against a great Duke team; what a great team win,” Musselman told ESPN’s Kris Budden.

    “Words can’t describe the feeling right now,” Musselman concluded. “It’s a great win now we have to get ready for Monday.”

    The win was big for the Razorbacks, who had lost three of their last four contests coming into the matchup, including a 1-2 showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Arkansas grabbed the win without its leading scorer Tramon Mark (18.4 PPG).

    Khalif Battle and Trevon Brazile took on the scoring load and combined for 40 points and seven 3-pointers.

    Despite the big win, the Razorbacks didn’t make it easy on themselves. They were up 10 points with 1:20 left and everybody in the building was getting ready to celebrate. That’s when the Blue Devils turned up the intensity of their full-court press and the Razorbacks struggled to break it. Arkansas was called for one 10-second violation and nearly had another. They also missed multiple free-throws.

    It was a 3-point game with 17 seconds left, but everybody was finally able to exhale after Duke guard Caleb Foster missed a 3-pointer with 9 seconds to pretty much seal the win for Arkansas.

    When the final horn sounded, the PA announcer made a lousy attempt at preventing the fans from storming the court.

    “Ladies and gentlemen please stay off the court,” he said.

    But it was far too late.

    Musselman also revealed a defensive strategy that limited Duke forward Mark Mitchell to just 19 minutes and 6 points on 2-of-8 shooting.

    “We really followed the game plan,” he said. “We weren’t going to guard Mitchell; really proud of the execution of the game plan defensively.”

    Arkansas (5-3) will take on Furman (4-3) at home on Monday and Duke (5-2) will go on the road to face Georgia Tech (3-2) on Saturday.

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