SAN FRANCISCO — JD Notae scored 21 points despite missing 20 shots and fourth-seeded Arkansas made Gonzaga miserable on both ends of the floor, bouncing the top overall seed from the NCAA Tournament with a 74-68 win on Thursday night.
Notae finished with six rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots for coach Eric Musselman’s scrappy, hustling Razorbacks (28-8), who reached the Elite Eight for the second straight year and will face either Duke or Texas Tech in the West Region final on Saturday.
Drew Timme scored 25 points but couldn’t rally the Bulldogs (28-4), who for the second straight season were favored to win that elusive national title but were eliminated by a more physical foe. Coach Mark Few’s squad was undefeated last year before falling to Baylor in the national title game.
Arkansas continually challenged 7-foot Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren in the paint, and the skinny NBA prospect fouled out with 3:29 remaining after some questionable calls went against him. Holmgren finished with 11 points, all in the second half, and 14 rebounds in what may be his final college game.
Moments after Au’Diese Toney dunked with 1 second left, Notae threw the game ball into the air in triumph as teammate Jaylin Williams flexed and roared near midcourt. Musselman, meanwhile, found mother Kris in the stands for an embrace as she watched him in person coaching the Razorbacks for the first time.
Notae shot 9 of 29 overall and 2 of 12 from 3-point range but was still the catalyst for the Razorbacks. The senior guard’s 3 with 6:38 left made it 59-50, and Arkansas held on from there.
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