FAYETTEVILLE – Part of Arkansas’ basketball past revisits the Razorbacks when the East Central University Tigers of Ada, Okla. visit Walton Arena for Sunday’s 3 p.m. exhibition game at Walton Arena.
It’s the first of two exhibition games, a 4 p.m. Oct. 30 exhibition against the University of North Texas is the other one, before Third-year coach Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks officially open their season Nov. 9 hosting Mercer University at Walton.
Coached last season by Chris Crutchfield, a Musselman Arkansas assistant in 2019-2020 since become the assistant head coach to Dana Altman at Oregon, the Tigers start two of Crutchfield’s sons. Senior guard Jalen Crutchfield is ECU’s leading scorer from its 10-9 2020-2021 team averaging 14.7 points.
Senior Josh Crutchfield is a starting forward.
Max Pendery, elevated from assistant to head coach when Crutchfield headed to Eugene, Ore., was a 2019-2020 Arkansas graduate assistant for Musselman accompanying Chris Crutchfield to ECU.
Small college ECU likely won’t present the challenge that Division 1 North Texas, the reigning Conference USA champion that went two rounds deep into last season’s NCAA Tournament, should present.
But the Tigers’ presence allows the Razorbacks to play against somebody besides themselves like last Sunday’s Red-White game and allows Musselman opportunity to experiment with various combinations.
Musselman prefers paring playing time to a top eight or nine by the SEC season (the Hogs play 12 nonconference games and these two exhibitions before their Dec. 29 SEC opener at Mississippi State) but will play available players Sunday.
Trey Wade, the injured graduate transfer swingman via Wichita State is the lone Razorbacks expected not to play Sunday.
Off their Red-White performances, guards JD Notae, leading the victorious White with 22 points and five assists, Preseason second-team All-SEC guard Devo Davis, 16 points, and four assists for the White, sophomore center Jaylin Williams, 12 points and seven rebounds for the White, forward Stanley Umude, the graduate transfer from the University of South Dakota double-doubling with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Red, and someone among guards Au’Diese Toney, he graduate transfer the University of Pittsburgh, Jax Robinson, a sophomore transfer via Texas A&M, or Chris Lykes, a graduate transfer from the University of Miami, seem likely to start.