The Arkansas Razorbacks headed to Nashville for another SEC road game. This time against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The previous three games did not start very well for the Razorbacks. 31 point lead by LSU in the first half, a 30 point thumping by Alabama and a 19 point deficit versus Auburn would do a lot of teams in.
The Hogs confidence was found late in the first half on Wednesday against Auburn with a 14-4 run to close out the half. With a hot start in the second it helped Arkansas stay in contention for a top 4-seed in the SEC Tournament. Also, it helped them have a chance to reach .500 with a victory on the road at the Memorial Coliseum at Vanderbilt.
In a game that as never in doubt, Arkansas started the game with a 9-0 lead. Turnovers, missed shots and fast break points are how the Razorbacks were able to get going early on in their matchup against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
With a turnover by Moses Moody, the commodores were able to score six straight points before Jalen Tate sunk a three from the corner for the Razorbacks to extend their lead back to six.
Vanderbilt would creep back up halfway through the first half. With the Commodores going 1/2 in a pair of flagrant foul free throws by the Commodores cut the lead down to three until Arkansas’ Moses Moody drained a three from the corner to extend the lead back to six. Moody had 13 first half points for the Hogs.
Justin Smith was found quite a few times in the first half including an And-one opportunity that was missed. The very next Razorback possession would push the lead out to right with 8:25 to go in the first half.
Following a charge by Vanderbilts DJ Harvey, Davonte Davis created a midrange jumper to keep the Razorback lead at 8. With a block by Justin Smith, Arkansas would push on a fast break by Moses Moody who hit a layup to push the lead to nine. Following a Vanderbilt basket, Vance Jackson would find himself on the right wing for a three with 2:10 to go in the first half to push the Razorback lead to 10, 40-30. Tate would hit a three from the top of the key off a pass from JD Notae to push the lead out further 45-31.
In the second half, Tate would hit the first two baskets of the second half for the Hogs to keep the Hogs ahead by double-digits. All the while hearing Eric Musselman shouting commands to his defense inside an empty Memorial Gymnasium.
Off a missed basket by Vanderbilt, Tate would lead the Hogs on a fast break. He would find Justin Smith flying in their air for the two hand slam to push the Razorback lead to 14. Smith had an outstanding game on the boards with seven rebounds. He seems to be healthy and running full strength now following surgery after the Auburn road matchup back on December 30th to repair his ankle.
Vanderbilt would cut the Razorback lead down to 12 but a made three-point basket by Tate would push the Arkansas lead to 15. The largest of the game at that point. The very next offensive possession for the Hogs, Desi Sills had a shot at the rim to push the lead to 17.
Vance Jackson would find a three point basket with just over nine minutes left in the game to push the lead to 18. Jackson finished the game with six points.
Tate and Moody would close out the game with several made baskets at the rim. With the ability to close out the game by running out the clock, Moody would hit the last bucket of the game to extend the Razorback lead to 22 points.
The Hogs shot the ball very well by finishing the game at 57.1% overall and shooting 8/19 from three. They would hit on 12 of their 19 free throw attempts and 22 assists on 36 made field goals. How about that for efficiency? Arkansas limited their turnovers compared to previous SEC games. They only had 11 of those compared to forcing Vanderbilt into 16 turnovers. Arkansas out rebounded the Commodores 39 to 29.
Moody scored 26 for the Razorbacks today. Tate also finished with 25 points including 8 assists and 5 rebounds. Smith finished with 12 points. Sills had 7, Jackson and Davis had 6 a piece and Notae rounded out the scoring with 5.