As easy as Arkansas’ first game in Spain appeared, the second was that much of a test.
Devo Davis had 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting and Kamani Johnson added 10 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. They are the only two holdovers from last year’s Elite Eight team.
“Without Devo and Kamani, we don’t win the game, I promise you that,” Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman said. “Probably not even close if those two don’t play. I mean, the game tilts the other way.”
Catalan Select made 10 3-pointers and jumped out to a 28-20 lead after the first quarter. The 3-pointer was an Arkansas bugaboo at times last season, especially early.
“Obviously not the way we want to start games on both sides of the ball,” Musselman said. “Defensively, we have a long, long way to go.”
Arkansas countered with a 29-15 edge in the second quarter to take the lead. They never trailed again, but never quite put away Catalan Select, either.
“Nobody is in there smiling or laughing. Everybody is kind of down, but it’s mine and Devo’s job to tell the young guys they’ll be all right,” Johnson said.