Arkansas was able to advance in the NCAA Tournament despite a subpar game by Daryl Macon's standards.
Arkansas beat Seton Hall on Friday 77-71 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It did so with Daryl Macon only scoring seven points in 27 minutes.
Macon is Arkansas' second-leading scorer on the season averaging 13.3 points per game. He was 1-of-7 from the field and 5-of-8 from the charity stripe. Macon has been one of the most clutch free throw shooters in the nation and that is what had him most puzzled about Friday's game.
"Man, I haven’t missed three free throws in a game in my life," Macon said. "I know I made the last three, but I’m not used to this feeling. Five for eight is not like me. I was saying, Daryl, what are you doing? Your teammates don’t give you the ball for nothing. We trust each other, and they trust me to make them.
"But it worked out in the end. Shooting those late free throws, it felt like my heart was about to come out and fall on the floor."
Macon knew about the Razorbacks since he played high school basketball at Little Rock (Ark.) Parkview. Out of high school, he had to go to a junior college so he chose Holmes (Miss.) Community College. He was the No. 3-rated recruit in junior college by the 247Composite following a sophomore season that saw him average 23.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per outing. As a freshman he put up similar numbers with 23 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per outing. For Macon though when the Razorbacks offered it was an easy decision to come back home.
It has been a perfect match for Macon and the Razorbacks. He has both started and came off the bench. He went for 30 points off the bench in a big home win over Ole Miss. He is currently playing off the bench, but still playing big minutes and is usually in the game at the end in part because of his clutch shooting at the free throw line.
What he has done at Arkansas and in junior college isn't a fluke either. As a senior at Parkview, Macon averaged 21.2 points per game and shot over 40-percent from beyond the 3-point line.
Today the Razorbacks will need Macon and all its players at their best. They play No. 1-seeded North Carolina. On Friday against Seton Hall, it was senior Moses Kingsley who really stepped up his game. Macon gave him props.
"Moses really came up big for us," Macon said. "I’ve never seen him play like that, but I knew he had it in him. Moses was on and when that happens we just gotta keep going to him."
The team had a chance to fold on Friday when Seton Hall went up eight in the second half. But the Razorbacks didn't and that may prove huge today because it's a certainty North Carolina will have some runs.
"When Seton Hall made the run in the second half to go up by 8, we never panicked," Macon said. "We've been down double digits in the second half this year, so we know how that goes, and we knew if they didn't bury us we'd be able to come back and win the game."
The Hogs will face the Tar Heels today at 5:10 p.m. CT on TNT in Greenville, S.C., in the round of 32. The winner will advance to the Sweet 16 in Memphis later this week.