NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Arkansas’ defense broke down in the second half and an intentional foul call swung momentum in favor of Vanderbilt as the Commodores pulled away for a 79-65 Southeastern Conference victory on Saturday.
The Razorbacks dropped their second straight game to fall to 17-9 overall and 5-8 in the SEC. VU improved to 16-10 and 6-6.
After doing a respectable job against Vanderbilt’s three-point offense in the first half – six-of-17 for 35.3 percent – the Commodores found their range in the second half. VU was six-of-10 and 13-of-22 shooting overall (.591) in the second period.
Despite Vanderbilt’s improved shooting, the Commodores were 13-of-31 in the first half (.419), Arkansas was still within 55-51 following a Ronnie Brewer jumper with 7:54 remaining, but an intentional foul call on Rashard Sullivan resulted in a five-point play for Vanderbilt. Sullivan fouled Mario Moore going in for a layup. Moore hit the two free throws and Vandy kept the ball. On the ensuing possession, Shan Foster hit a three for a 60-51 Vanderbilt lead.
Sullivan hit a jumper to get the Razorbacks within seven, but VU went on a 12-5 run over the next three-plus minutes to build a 72-58 lead with 3:03 left. Foster, who scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including five-of-10 on three-pointers, and Dawid Przybyszewski each had six points in the run.
Arkansas shot 50 percent for the game (22-44), but in addition to allowing a season-high 12 threes, the Razorbacks were out-rebounded (28-24) and turned the ball over 15 times while forcing 11 turnovers.
In the first half, UA shot 60 percent (12-20) and rallied from a 10-5 deficit to take a 27-24 lead on Eric Ferguson’s three with 5:02 left. A 10-2 run, with five points by Foster, gave VU a 34-29 lead before a Darian Townes jumper in the last minute got the Hogs within 34-31 at the break.
While Vanderbilt’s shooting improved in the second half, Arkansas dropped off to 41.7 percent (10-24). UA made five-of-eight threes in the first period (.625), but one-of-seven in the second to finish at 40 percent.
Ronnie Brewer led Arkansas with 20 points on eight-of-19 shooing and five assists, and added four rebounds. Jonathon Modica and Olu Famutimi scored 10 points each. Modica was four-of-six shooting and Famutimi, who added three steals, was three-of-five. Townes had eight points on three-of-four shooting, and Sullivan finished with eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Michael Jones, UA’s only senior, returned to action for the first time since suffering a severely pulled groin against Kentucky on Jan. 29 and scored three points in two minutes, going one-of-three on three-pointers.
Moore went 10-of-10 at the line and finished with 20 points and 13 assists for the Commodores. Jason Holwerda added 10 points.
Arkansas is off on Wednesday before playing host to Tennessee Saturday at 3 p.m. in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.