No. 15 Arkansas dropped its third straight Southeastern Conference game at Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon, 97-84.
The Razorbacks led at halftime and built the lead up to 10 points in the second half, but the Commodores caught fire, shooting 69% from the field, including six 3-pointers, to score 63 points in the frame and run away with the game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys still trying to figure out how to win on the road, how to win in conference,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said in the postgame press conference. “I mean, I’ve coached a lot of games, and can't remember a defensive team giving up 63 points in a half.”
The first 10 minutes of the game were a defensive battle, filled with physical defense and missed shots. The Commodores held a 15-11 lead with 11:38 left in the first half that the Hogs chipped away at to eventually tie the contest at 18 at the 8:54 mark.
A late flurry of offense, including a seven-point possession following a scuffle, before halftime put the Razorbacks in the driver’s seat. They held a double-digit lead at one point, but went into the intermission with a 42-34 lead.
The famed Arkansas held up its end of the bargain as well. The Hogs allowed Vanderbilt to shoot just 37% from the floor, forcing seven turnovers along the way.
Vanderbilt came out of half firing a barrage of 3-pointers, with many finding their marks. Arkansas tried to keep pace, but relinquished the lead when a Commodore shot from deep tied the game 56-56 with 13:41 remaining.
Vanderbilt kept the pressure on, never allowing the Hogs to claw their way back. The Razorbacks managed to cut the deficit to six points with 2:20 left in the game, but the Commodores drilled their foul shots to close the door on Arkansas.
“They started hitting threes, which was our game plan to prevent them from doing,” junior guard Ricky Council IV said. “And that got the crowd into it, that got them into it. I felt we were never able to bounce back from that point. We were playing catch-up until the end of the game.”
The Razorbacks got solid production from their starting five. Council bounced back after struggling over the last two games, leading the way with 24 points on 8-12 shooting, including hitting three of his six attempts from deep.
Freshman guard Anthony Black also had it going. Black scored 18 points on 7-15 shooting and hit two of his four 3-point attempts. He also added six boards and three assists.
Junior wing Jalen Graham had an impressive showing in Arkansas’ last outing, but racked up just five minutes of action, in which he missed both of his attempts.
Highly touted freshman wing Jordan Walsh was his usual self on defense — a physical perimeter defender. Walsh was, however, almost invisible on offense, missing six shots, with three coming from beyond the arc. He finished the game with zero points over 17 minutes.
Freshman guard Derrian Ford also got some run, playing over 16 minutes. He showed some defensive prowess, but was a non-factor otherwise. Ford finished with just one foul and one turnover on the stat sheet.
Arkansas will look to stop its skid when they travel to Columbia, Missouri, to take on the 20th ranked Missouri Tigers at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The Tigers account for the Razorbacks’ one SEC win of the season thus far. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network and stream live on the ESPN app.
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