Can Arkansas Again Survive Haunted House, AKA KeyBank Center In Buffalo?

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Arkansas coach Eric Musselman took his team to nearby Niagara Falls while in Buffalo, New York for the NCAA Tournament.

He did not know of another blooming Buffalo downtown tourist destination – the KeyBank Center “Haunted House,” where better seeds come to lose or get frightfully close to losing.

No. 12 seed New Mexico State knocked off No. 5 seed Connecticut, 70-63, and No. 12 seed Richmond upset No. 5 seed Iowa 67-63 in the 19,200-seat KeyBank on Thursday.

So some figured No. 13 seed Vermont would beat No. 4 seed Arkansas in the late game Thursday at KeyBank.

Not happening.

Arkansas held on for a 75-71 win, and the Razorbacks (26-8) advance to play New Mexico State (27-6) on Saturday at KeyBank.

Eric Musselman Still Hears His Late Dad In His Head

“There are upsets all the time,” Musselman said after his team’s win. “A lot of upsets. People were picking us to be one. There were upsets here in Buffalo, but it wasn’t the Razorbacks! I’m just happy we survived. Man, that’s all it’s about.”

Guard Stanley Umude led Arkansas with 21 points and added nine reobunds. Forward Jaylin Williams scored 13 with 10 rebounds, and guard J.D. Notae scored 17 with seven boards. Guard Davonte Davis added 14 off the bench.

The Razorbacks will now work to solve 6-foot-6 junior guard Teddy Allen, who scored 37 points for New Mexico State with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. He was 10 of 24 from the field and 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

“I’m a hooper, and this is the biggest stage,” said Allen, who averages 19 a game. “This will be the worst time to fold.”

Allen, a redshirt junior from Phoenix, is at his fifth school. He was a freshman at West Virginia in 2017-18. He sat out the 2018-19 season at Wichita State after a transfer. He played in 2019-20 at West Nebraska Community College and played at Nebraska in 2020-21 before coming to New Mexico State.

“Unguardable” is how Connecticut coach Dan Hurley described some of the shots Allen made Thursday.

“It’s not a zone. That’s just how I play,” Allen said.

“[The Aztecs have] got a star player who can create his own shot,” said Musselman, who watched the game in person before his. “They’re tough guys. They’re competitive. They scrap.”

It was New Mexico State’s first NCAA Tournament win since beating Syracuse in 1993.

“Our fans have been starving,” said New Mexico State coach Chris Jans, who could hear Richmond fans celebrating as he spoke to his team before taking the floor against Connecticut. “It gave me chills to think about what that would feel like for us.”

Welcome to KeyBank.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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