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Arkansas falls short of Final Four bid vs. Duke

The Razorbacks made yet another Elite Eight, but were ultimately dumped by the Blue Devils.

Arkansas v Duke Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

No. 2 seeded Duke went on a hot shooting streak Saturday night at the Chase Center, ending the Arkansas Razorbacks’ run to the Elite 8 in a 78-69 loss.

Unfortunately for Arkansas, Duke dominated this game from beginning to end. Arkansas was outscored by Duke 46-34. Duke also shot 55% for the game. In the first half, it seemed promising. Both teams traded baskets keeping the game tight until Duke went on an 8-0 hot streak halfway through the first half. Then a clutch lay-up by Jaylin Williams snapped the run momentarily, but Duke still managed to maintain a lead the entire first half. Jaylin Williams made 19 points and 10 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season, leading three Arkansas players. JD Notae and Stanley Umude notably each made 14 points with Notae also earning four assists.

Notae and Williams were named to the NCAA West Regional All-American Tournament team. As the clock winded down, Duke remained in the lead never really letting Arkansas make any sort of a lengthy run. But it was Trevor Keels 3-pointer at the buzzer that solidified another 8-0 run for the Blue Devils. Duke Freshman, Paulo Banchero led the Blue Devils with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists and earned the West Regional Most Valuable Player honor. While Mark Williams added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Ten of Williams's 12 points came in the first half to establish Duke’s dominance over Arkansas.

Duke’s AJ Griffin, notably accumulated a team-high of 18-points, going 7-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-3 from behind the arc. The second half opened with the Razorbacks coming out in a 9-2 run cutting the Blue Devils' lead to only five with 13:19 remaining. Arkansas showed sincere determination. But it just wasn’t enough. Duke dominated the floor making the next 10 points and creating a now 15-point lead over Arkansas with only 10:18 left in the game.

The Blue Devils forced Arkansas to remain scoreless in the last 2:14 and Duke made four of their final five shots of the half. Junior Wendall Moore, playing in his first career Elite 8, scored 14 points while helping keep Arkansas’ JD Notae to 5-of-14 from the floor. A 10-0 second-half run by Duke was enough to send Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski to his 13th Final Four.

Arkansas ends an impressive season 28-9 overall. Duke meanwhile advances to the 17th Final Four in program history. Duke now heads to New Orleans to take on the winner of North Carolina and Saint Peter’s on Saturday, April 2.