Arkansas Second Half Too Much For Commodores In 75-55 Loss To Hogs

Greg Arias

The Vanderbilt Commodores played well on both ends of the floor through the first twenty minutes against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on Wednesday night, unfortunately for the Commodores the second half was a different story.  

Arkansas 14-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference used a dominating second half, outscoring the Commodores 41-27 in the second half in route to a 75-55 win. 

Commodores head coach Jerry Stackhouse surprised everyone with the addition of walk-on Braelee Albert into the starting lineup, sending Saben Lee back to the bench as the sixth Commodore, the role he had played prior to Aaron Nesmiht's injury and Lee's first start on Saturday against Texas A&M.      

Arkansas moved out to a slim early advantage, but the Commodores battled and took their first lead of the game when Maxwell Evans somehow got an off-balance, airborne shot to fall to put the visitors ahead 13-12. The lead came as Vanderbilt ran off seven consecutive points as the Razorbacks went 0 for six during that span. 

From there the teams would exchange baskets before the Commodores offense went cold again, this time going 3:25 without a field goal as Arkansas managed to build a nine-point advantage.

The Commodores would respond, cutting the lead to 29-26 when Evans knocked down a three-point basket with just over two minutes remaining in the first half.  

The Razorbacks would end the half outscoring the Commodores 5-2 to take a 34-28 lead to the locker room. 

Vanderbilt finished the half connecting on 10 of 25 shots from the floor, good for 40% in the half while Arkansas was only slightly better, managing to hit 14 of 34 for 41% in the half. 

Evans led the Commodores in scoring with 16 in the half while Jimmy WHitt Jr. led all scorers with 17. The Razorbacks leading scorer Mason Jones was held scoreless in the half, as was Isaiah Jones. Both players average double figures on the season. 

The Commodores got on the board first ion the second half as Ejike Obinna found himself open cutting down the lane when Lee hit him with a great pass for a quick dunk to cut the Hogs lead to 34-30. 

Saben Lee struggled to find a shot in the first half, but finally got into the scoring with a dunk and made free-throw with 17:24 left in the game.  

Following a second Lee score, almost inexplicably the Commodores offense when cold, this time suffering a 4:40 drought as the Razorbacks were able to push the lead to 52-35 with 12:33 left to play. 

The third basket by Lee ended the drought and trimmed the Arkansas lead back to 15 points. 

From there, the Razorbacks were never threatened as they coasted home with the win. 

The Commodores finished the night shooting just 40% from the floor while the Razorbacks managed 47% from the floor. 

Lee led all Commodores scorers with 17 points, all in the second half while Evans tied a career-high with 16 points, all coming in the first half and Scottie Pippen Jr. finished with 11 points.  

For the Razorbacks, Jimmy Whitt Jr. finished with 30 points, a career-high as he finished the contest hitting 14 of 24 shots, mostly at close range or on dunks.   

The Commodores return home to face the rival Tennessee Volunteers Saturday afternoon at 5 pm at Memorial Gym.

The Volunteers, 10-6 overall and 2-2 in SEC play enter Saturday's matchup coming off an 80-63 loss on the road at Georgia.  

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or on Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven

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