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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Men's Basketball

Devin Davis’ double-double leads rout of Arkansas


Earning his third double-double of the season, Devin Davis was named Player of the Game as he scored 28 points to lead the Cougars in a win against Arkansas. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

Behind a double-double from redshirt senior forward Devin Davis, the Cougars never trailed in their 91-65 rout over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

With a stout defensive effort that saw the team force 13 turnovers, the Cougars held the Razorbacks to just 34 percent shooting to earn their first win against a Southeastern Conference opponent since 2015 when they beat the LSU Tigers.

Davis led the team with 28 points, a career high, and picked up 10 rebounds for a team that looked like it had no weaknesses. Davis said this was somewhat of a revenge game as he was injured in last year’s game against Arkansas. This was the first time this season he led the Cougars in scoring, but none of his points were as exciting as his 3-point shot as the shot clock expired in the second half.

“It just felt good. I knew it was going in,” Davis said.

Plays like that came often and frustrated an Arkansas defense that could not find an answer to the Cougars’ in-and-out offense. Junior guard Corey Davis Jr. benefited from the outside portion as he splashed five shots from beyond the arc on the way to 17 points for the game, the second most on the team.

The Cougars as a whole had another efficient shooting night as they shot 52 percent from the floor and 48 percent from 3-point range.

On the defensive end, the Cougar’s stifled the Arkansas attack and held their fifth team to under 70 points. The Cougars played aggressive defense the whole game, recording 38 rebounds and forcing 13 turnovers. It was this aggressive play that saw the Cougars jump out to a 11-0 lead to start the game.

This was the third time the Cougars have held a team to 34 percent shooting or lower this season.

Even with starting guard Rob Gray Jr. staying on the bench for a large portion of the night, the Cougars led by double digits for nearly the whole period. It is a testament to the depth the Cougars have gained in head coach Kelvin Sampson’s fourth year with the team.

Corey Davis Jr. and junior guard Galen Robinson were both able to move the ball efficiently despite Gray’s absence. Robinson scored only two points but led the team with nine assists, while Corey Davis Jr. and Devin Davis were at one point almost outscoring the Razorbacks by themselves.

This was Corey Davis Jr.’s first start since the second game of the regular season. But even though he was productive on the offensive side of the ball, it was his defense that earned him the start.

“To know that Coach Sampson trusted me enough to put me in the starting lineup and put me against one of their best scorers, it showed me he had the confidence in me,” Davis Jr. said. “So that just gave me the confidence to get the job done.”

With a record of 6-1, the Cougars’ next game is against Fairfield at the H&PE Arena on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

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