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19 March 2018, 09:46 | Franklin Nunez
Ben Goff Arkansas guard C.J. Jones walks off the court following a loss to Butler in the NCAA Tournament on Friday
Though not as senior-heavy as Arkansas, Butler is a veteran team that has been to four-straight NCAA Tournaments.
Butler, 20-13 of the Big East, and Arkansas, 23-11 of the SEC, clash in Friday's 2:10 p.m. CDT tru-TV televised East Regional NCAA Tournament game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
While the Razorbacks (23-12) contemplate what might have been, Butler (21-13) advanced to play Purdue on Sunday.
Tony Hinkle, for whom the Bulldogs' venerable Arena was changed from Butler Arena to Hinkle Arena, was in his sixth of 41 years coaching Butler when the Bulldogs bested Charles Bassett's Razorbacks, 37-21 on January 2, 1931, at Butler Arena.
Martin averaged 15 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Bulldog's run to the Sweet 16 last season as a No. 4 seed, which ended with a loss to the Tar Heels, and all told he has played in seven tournament games. Baldwin wasn't far behind, dropping 24 points on nine-of-17 from the field. He almost posted a triple-double, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high seven blocks in just 27 minutes.
Gafford, a 6-11 freshman from El Dorado, figured to give the Razorbacks an advantage inside with the size and athleticism that have made him a projected first-round pick in the NBA Draft.
Arkansas' 35.7 percent shooting (20 of 56) against Butler was the Razorbacks' third-worst of the season. The senior from Tennessee improved in just about every area over last season, but none were more pronounced than his 3-point shooting, which stands at 43.6 percent after shooting below 30 percent last season. "I was one of the older guys on the team, and I had to be mature about the situation". Martin and Baldwin scoring 32 points in the second half also helped their cause. "We've just got to stay focused and locked in".
Arkansas outscored Butler by 16 with Hall on the floor in the first half. "We were good off the ball, which was a big emphasis". So defensively we are just going to have to dig down deep and we're going to have to really rebound the basketball.
"We're just going to go out there and play our brand on basketball", Macon said. Both teams have clearly changed since that meeting but an injury is the biggest storyline.
"That first game, you never know how they're going to come out", Anderson said.
"One thing about Butler, they've got tradition", Anderson said. We had some outstanding performances and guys coming off the bench.
That could have been a huge emotional swing, but the Bulldogs kept their cool.
Arkansas answered with a quick 10-0 run, and although Gafford was contributing little offensively, the Razorbacks came all the way back and took a 29-27 lead on a 3-pointer by C.J. Jones. But I thought the killer was when those offensive rebounds or rebounds that we had on our hands, they were able to get those.
"That was a heavy discussion point throughout the week", Jordan said. They found a way to get it done and that's all that matters in the end. He scored 27 points on the day and pulled down nine rebounds.
The Razorbacks also like to think their pressure defense is uniquely hard, but the Bulldogs like to run nearly as much Anderson's team.
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