FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP)Au’Diese Toney and JD Notae each scored 18 points to lift No. 10 Arkansas past Little Rock 93-78 on Saturday.
All but two of Toney’s points came in the first half, when Arkansas (8-0) built its lead to 15 points at the break. Notae took over for the Razorbacks in the second half, scoring all but two of his points to stave off an attempted rally by Little Rock (4-5), which went on an 18-8 run to start the second half.
Toney shot 6 of 7 from the floor and had a team-high eight rebounds. He is shooting 69% from the floor this season, his first at Arkansas after transferring from Pittsburgh.
”The stuff (Toney) does, it’s not glamorous,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. ”It’s basically stuff that wins basketball games. And quite honestly, that’s what he wants to do is win. It’s hard to take him off the floor, that’s why he played 38 minutes.”
Notae, the SEC’s leading scorer this season averaging 18.1 points per game, shot an efficient 6 of 10 in the second half and his 3-pointer with 3:47 left put Arkansas back ahead by double digits for good.
Arkansas had two other players score in double figures: Devo Davis with 16 and Chris Lykes with 14.
Marko Lukic led all scorers with 23 points for Little Rock, while Isaiah Palermo added 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Razorbacks shot 57% from the field and outscored Little Rock 48-26 in the paint.
As of the end of the game, Arkansas was one of only 12 Division I teams that were undefeated, a fact not lost on Musselman.
”Look, it’s a 40-minute basketball game and we won by double digits. I get it,” Musselman said. ”But you play a game to win a game. There’s a reason there’s only 12 teams at this moment to my knowledge that are undefeated in college basketball.”
Little Rock coach Darrell Walker spent three seasons playing for Arkansas from 1980-83 before a 10-year NBA career. Saturday marked his first return to Fayetteville as an opponent since the Razorbacks lifted their unofficial moratorium on playing in-state schools last year.
”I think it’s great. I think it’s long overdue,” Walker said. ”I have to tip my hat to (athletic director Hunter Yurachek) and Eric Musselman to play UCA and Pine Bluff in football, and us in basketball. I think it’s great, great for the state.”
Arkansas: Has truly blown out only one opponent from start to finish this season, but the Razorbacks’ speed and balance has shown itself to be as good as last year’s Elite Eight finish suggested.
Little Rock: Was picked to finish middle of the Sun Belt pack and looked the part on Saturday.
Arkansas: Host Charlotte on Tuesday.
Little Rock: Hosts Missouri State on Wednesday.
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