Devo Davis makes big plays in final minute to help Arkansas beat Georgia

Arkansas guard Davonte "Devo" Davis (4) covers Georgia guard Noah Thomasson (3), Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, during the first half of a basketball game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. (Charlie Kaijo/NWA Democrat-Gazette)
Arkansas guard Davonte "Devo" Davis (4) covers Georgia guard Noah Thomasson (3), Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, during the first half of a basketball game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. (Charlie Kaijo/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — Playing his first game in 17 days, Arkansas guard Davonte “Devo” Davis made two winning plays to offset a bad one in the closing minute Saturday against Georgia.

Davis had the go-ahead assist to Makhi Mitchell with 54.8 seconds remaining and made up for a turnover by contesting a three-pointer that would have given Georgia a lead moments later. Davis also made a free throw with 23 seconds to play to help the Razorbacks to a 78-75 victory over the Bulldogs at Bud Walton Arena. 

Arkansas (12-11, 3-7 SEC) won its first home game since Jan. 16 against Texas A&M. That game was played eight days before Davis’ last appearance during the first half of a Jan. 24 game at Ole Miss. 

Davis did not play in the Razorbacks’ three previous games for reasons not clear. 

Handling the ball against a 1-3-1 zone, Davis was double teamed near half court with under a minute remaining. He fired a contested pass to Mitchell near the low block on the opposite side of the lane, and Mitchell turned for a layup that gave the Razorbacks a 74-72 lead. 

Justin Hill committed a bad-pass turnover on the other end, but Davis committed a turnover of his own moments later. Davis got back defensively to contest a Jabri Abdur-Rahim three-point attempt in transition.

Davis, Mitchell and Tramon Mark made 4 of 6 free throws the rest of the way to ice an exciting win. The teams combined for 15 ties and 10 lead changes, most coming late in the second half. 

Arkansas led 47-35 in the second half, but Georgia responded with a 21-8 stretch to tie the game with 7:25 remaining. 

It was back and forth from there. 

A step-back three by Hill with 3:57 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 67-66 lead, their first since the 8:07 mark of the first half. 

Mark and Hill traded free throws, and Arkansas regained the lead 69-68 when Mitchell dove to retrieve a ball stripped loose by El Ellis, ran the floor and took a feed from Mark for a layup with 2:26 to play. 

A back-door pass from Russel Tchewa to Silas Demary put the Bulldogs ahead 70-69, but an Ellis three from the corner with 1:42 to play put the Razorbacks up 72-70. 

Hill hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game with 1:17 remaining. Davis found Mitchell for the decisive shot on the next possession. 

Arkansas did not show signs of rust playing its first game in a week, and the Razorbacks avoided a season sweep by Georgia and avenged a 76-66 loss at the Bulldogs’ Stegeman Coliseum on Jan. 10. 

Georgia (14-10, 4-7) has lost 5 consecutive games since opening conference play 4-2. 

Arkansas used a 15-1 run late in the first half to take control for a while. The Razorbacks trailed 19-15 with 9:18 remaining in the first half, then held the Bulldogs without a field goal for 6 minutes, 18 seconds. 

Ellis’ three-pointer following a Georgia turnover gave Arkansas a 30-20 lead with 3:19 to play before halftime. Jalen Graham added six points during the Razorbacks’ big run. 

Dylan James made a layup at the first-half buzzer to cut Arkansas’ lead to 34-29 at halftime. 

The Bulldogs’ 1-3-1 zone gave the Razorbacks’ trouble for much of the second half and helped Georgia chip away at the 12-point disadvantage. The Bulldogs also abandoned the three-point line that resulted in several first-half misses and found good looks inside. 

Keyon Menifield led Arkansas with 15 points off the bench. Ellis added 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, Mitchell had 14 points and 5 rebounds, Mark scored 13 points and Graham added 11. 

Davis scored 4 points, had 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 35 minutes off the bench. 

DeMary led the Bulldogs with 19 points and Hill added 18, including 11 from the free-throw line. 

Georgia shot 26 of 54 (48%) overall and 4 of 18 (22%) from three-point range. The Bulldogs were 19 of 23 (83%) from the line. 

Arkansas shot 28 of 49 (57%) overall and 5 of 14 (36%) from three. The Razorbacks were 17 of 26 (65%) at the line, which included 4 consecutive misses during a stretch when the Bulldogs were closing the gap. 

Arkansas scored 21 points off of 14 Georgia turnovers and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 28-27. Arkansas had 6 blocks, 9 steals and 44 bench points. 

The Razorbacks are scheduled to host No. 6 Tennessee on Wednesday at 8 p.m.