Musselman returns to lead Arkansas vs. Auburn

·2 min read

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman, who missed last week's win over Abilene Christian because of COVID-19 contact tracing, will return to leading the Razorbacks when they open SEC play Wednesday night at Auburn.

Musselman missed the Razorbacks' 85-72 victory on Dec. 22 because he was quarantining after a staff member tested positive.

"I think I've taken five tests since last week, and they've all come back the way that we had hoped and wanted," Musselman said.

Assistant coach David Patrick led the Razorbacks (8-0) against Abilene Christian. Patrick, formerly the head coach at California-Riverside, also conducted the first practices after a three-day Christmas break.

"I send all the practice plans to the guys to type up," Musselman said. "And Coach Patrick and I talk every night, and (assistant) Corey Williams and I talked a lot (Sunday) night. So it's just constant communication with the players and with the staff."

Arkansas will complete its second seven-day break in the past three weeks. After the Razorbacks' previous seven days off, they looked rusty in trailing Oral Roberts 40-30 at halftime before winning 87-76.

In the win over Abilene Christian, Desi Sills scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half and JD Notae scored 17 of his 19 in the second half.

Auburn (6-2) is under a self-imposed postseason ban after reaching the Final Four in 2019. The ban is a result of the FBI investigation into former assistant Chuck Person pleading guilty to bribery in July 2019.

The Tigers have been idle since a 67-53 win over visiting Appalachian State on Dec. 22. They needed a late 12-0 run to pull away.

Jaylin Williams led Auburn with 15 points, Jamal Johnson scored 14, and Allen Flanigan added 13 points and a game-high six assists. Justin Powell had nine points, five assists and a game-high eight rebounds.

"We're not a household name in the SEC, nor do we deserve to be," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "But we're also not a one-trick pony. It wasn't just the Final Four team. This team did what they needed to do. Part of the non-conference is preparing for the league. Ready or not, here it comes."

--Field Level Media