FAYETTEVILLE — Behind a 50-point second half and 35 combined points from junior Julysses Nobles and sophomore Rickey Scott, the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team stormed past No. 25 Vanderbilt 82-74 Tuesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas improves to 16-0 at home this season to become just the third team in school history to win 16 games in Fayetteville in a single season and ties the record for the most consecutive home wins to start a season with the 1993-94 team. The Razorbacks improve to 16-6 overall and 4-3 in the Southeastern Conference play, while Vanderbilt drops to 16-6 and 5-2 in the league.
"I’m really proud of our guys for the way we came out and played a really good team," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. "I thought this team grew up tonight."
After trailing by two points at the half, Arkansas knocked down five straight three-pointers in the span of 2:25 to open up an 11-point lead, 57-46, with 13:36 left in the game. Scott and sophomore Mardracus Wade each nailed two of the three-pointers, and freshman BJ Young added one of his own to end the streak.
Arkansas did not let Vanderbilt get any closer than six points the rest of the game. A John Jenkins three-pointer cut the lead to 76-70 with 50 seconds to play, but freshman Rashad Madden went 4-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to help the Razorbacks put the game away.
"We were able to close out the game with a total team effort," Anderson said. "We played together and we played unselfishly."
Nobles helped Arkansas jump out to a 13-6 lead with two early three-pointers, and finished with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting including 3-for-6 from long range. Scott finished with 18 points, with 13 coming in the second half.
Freshman Hunter Mickelson played just two minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, but was a key to the explosive second half. With just over six minutes to play and the Razorbacks holding a 67-57 lead, Mickelson spun around his defender and elevated for a thundering two-handed dunk in the lane. On the next offensive possession, he sprinted in from the weak side to tip in a missed shot while falling away from the hoop. His second basket increased the lead to 71-57 with 5:29 to play, and pushed the Bud Walton Arena crowd to a deafening level.
"The crowd was big tonight," Anderson said. "They are the best in the country."
Madden finished with 10 points including 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. Young tallied 12 points, and Wade was the fifth Razorback in double figures, adding 10.
"Our defense was really, really good," Anderson continued. "I thought fatigue was a factor, and we did an outstanding job of going to the glass."
The Commodores entered the game leading the SEC with 40.3 percent three-point shooting, but it was the Razorbacks who made nine three-pointers in the game on 39.1 percent shooting from range. Arkansas held Vanderbilt to 6-of-21 shooting from behind the arc, 28.6 percent.
Arkansas also controlled the glass against Vanderbilt, out-rebounding the Commodores 36-29 in the game. The Razorbacks tallied 24 bench points to Vanderbilt’s 14.
The Razorbacks return to action Saturday, Feb. 4 for a 12:30 p.m. game at LSU. For more information about Razorback basketball, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.