FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas was down one (54-53) with 9:41 to play before going on an 18-3 over an eight-minute span to claim an 81-74 victory over Mercer in the teams’ 2021-22 season opener at Bud Walton Arena.
The 15th-ranked Razorbacks forced seven turnovers during the span and held Mercer to 1-of-7 shooting. The Hogs scored the first six points of the second half to start the momentum and Arkansas would ed up out-scoring the Bears 46-25 in the second half to secure the win.
Arkansas was led by JD Notae, who scored 30 points – his best production as a Razorback – and had a career-high seven steals, including six in the second half. Au’Diese Toney recorded his fourth career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, including five offensive boards. Chris Lykes produced 16 points off the bench, going 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Jaylin Williams also played a key role in the win with eight rebounds and a team-high, as well as career-high, five assists.
Arkansas will return to Bud Walton Arena to host Gardner-Webb on Saturday (Nov. 13). Tipoff is set for 2 pm and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 28 – Mercer 36
- JD Notae hit a pair of 3’s to give Arkansas an 8-3 lead at the first media timeout.
- Mercer sank a pair of 3-pointers to cut its deficit to two (19-17) at the second media timeout.
- Mercer went on a 14-2 over 6:13 to take its first lead, 34-24, with 2:02 left in the period.
- Mercer shot 48 percent from the field overall (13-of-27) and 47 percent from 3-point range (8-of-17)
- Kamar Robinson led the Bears in the first half with nine points off the bench while Shawn Walker Jr., contributed eight.
- Notae (13 pts) and Au’Diese Toney (10 pts) combined for 23 of the team’s 28 first-half points.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas 46 – Mercer 25
- Arkansas scored the first six points of the second half – four from Notae and a fastbreak dunk from Stanley Umude – to get to within two (36-34) and force a Mercer timeout. Arkansas forced a turnover out of the timeout and Umude had a fastbreak layup to tie the game, 36-36.
- Arkansas held Mercer scoreless for 2:01 and led 51-49 at the second media timeout (11:24).
- The Hogs forced four straight turnovers as part of a 7-0 run, holding Mercer scoreless for 2:44, to take a 60-54 lead and force a timeout by the Bears.
- Mercer was held scoreless for eight minutes until Felipe Hasse hit a jumper with 40 seconds left to end the 18-3 Razorback run.
- Arkansas shot 55.2 percent from the field in the second half and made 11-of-13 free throws. (Mercer was just 2-of-6 from the line in the game.)
- Arkansas forced 13 second-half turnovers and 18 for the game.
- Notae scored 17 of his 30 in the second half and Lykes scored 14 of his 16 in the period.
- Arkansas’ starting lineup was Khalen Robinson – JD Notae – Davonte Davis – Au’Diese Toney – Stanley Umude
- Arkansas won the tip.
- Arkansas’ JD Notae scored the first points of the game with a 3-pointer at 19:10.
- Jaylin Williams was the first sub for Arkansas.
- Arkansas improves to 5-1 versus Mercer and 2-0 versus the Bears in Fayetteville.
- Arkansas improves to 80-19 all-time in season openers and 89-10 in home openers.
- Arkansas has won 48 of the last 51 season openers and 50 of the last 51 home openers.
- Arkansas has won 48 straight home openers (dating back to 1974-75) and is a perfect 29-0 in home openers in Bud Walton Arena.
JD Notae’s 30 points are his career-best while at Arkansas and mark his third game with at least 30 points for his collegiate career. His five triples also tie a career high.
This is the 134th time a Razorback has scored at least 30 points in a game and Notae is the 50th Razorback to accomplish the feat. The last player to score 30 in a game was Mason Jones scoring 30 versus Texas A&M to close the 2019-20 regular season (03/07/20).
Notae’s career-high seven steals rank eighth (tied) for most steals in a game by a Razorback. The last Razorback with at least seven steals was when Ronnie Brewer had seven vs UL Monroe on Dec. 31, 2004.
Au’Diese Toney recorded his fourth career double-double, posting two last season and one as a sophomore at Pitt. It was his 36th career double-digit game and his fifth career double-digit rebound game.
Jaylin Williams had a career-high five assists and took a charge. He led the team by taking 16 charges last season.
While Davonte Davis did not take a shot on offense, head coach Eric Musselman praised his defensive effort on the Bears’ best player, Netfali Alvarez, holding him to 4-of-13 shooting (0-of-6 from 3-point range) ad just eight points.