NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Arkansas hoped to travel to Nashville to gain their first true road win and bounce back after a disappointing loss to No. 4 Alabama. Instead, they gave up nearly 100 points to a mediocre Vanderbilt team.
The first half was unexpectedly chippy. It started with a hard foul by Kamani Johnson on Vanderbilt’s Myles Stute. Johnson and another Commodore exchanged some words leading to double technical fouls. The game became increasingly physical as halftime grew near, until it climaxed with 49 seconds left in the half.
Anthony Black drove to the basket and drew an “and 1” foul on Quentin Millore-Brown but, Quentin Millore-Brown was the one that ended up on the ground. Black slightly taunted Millore-Brown by standing over him for a moment.
But when Black decided to step away, he was pushed by Ezra Manjon, who began to make a bad situation worse for the Commodores by trash-talking afterward. Manjon’s actions resulted in two technical fouls and an ejection.
When Vanderbilt’s Coach Jerry Stackhouse received the newsthat his player had been disqualified he began to aggressively disagree with the officials resulting in yet, another technical foul. For those counting, 6 free throws were awarded to the Hogs for technical fouls and one for the common foul after Black’s bucket. Black knocked down his shot and Ricky Council knocked down 4-6, making it a 7-point possession counting the layup that started it.
The Razorbacks take an eight-point lead into the half, 42-34.
With the drama happening so late in the half, it might have worked against the Hogs. The Commodores had the entire break to stew over it with no distractions. Vanderbilt, in turn, came out of halftime on fire.
Vanderbilt finished the first half shooting in the mid-30% rangebut shot nearly 70% for most of the second half, scoring 63 points in the second half. The Razorback defense had no answer for Vanderbilt’s shooters around the perimeter, or Liam Robbins down in the post.
The Commodores went on a 21-8 run, including five 3-point baskets without a miss to go up by 5 with 11:42 left. Arkansas tried to claw their way back, even knocking down three 3-point shots—a shot Arkansas has struggled with mightily this season. They just could not create consecutive stops on defense.
After a few intentional fouls at the end, Vanderbilt grew the lead to double digits. Arkansas loses 97-84.
Arkansas shot much better than in their previous few games. The Hogs shot 49.2% (31-63) from the field and a greatly improved 38.9% (7-18) from the 3-point line. On free throws, Arkansas made 15-24 for 62.5% but only made half of the shots made by Vanderbilt (29-36). The Hogs recorded 11 assists to 11 turnovers.
As the game went on, Arkansas’s defense fell more and more into disarray. The defense allowed Vanderbilt to shoot 51.8% (29-56) and 55.6% (10-18) from the arch. Arkansas continues on a worrying trend, only forcing 9 turnovers and 3 steals. And in the most shocking stat of the game, Arkansas lost the rebound battle, 38-31.
Ricky Council IV led the team with 24 points, followed by Anthony Black with 18 and Devo Davis with 17. Makhi Mitchell had a team-high 8 boards and Black finished with 6.
Next, Arkansas takes on Mizzou in Columbia, Missouri just two weeks after the Hogs’ 74-68 win over the Tigers. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:00cst on January, 18th.