Vanderbilt Quick Hitter: Arkansas Razorbacks Edition

Greg Arias

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

• The Commodores dropped to 8-7 overall and 0-2 in league play after a 69-50 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday at Memorial Gym. Junior Maxwell Evans and sophomore Ejike Obinna led the team with 12 points, while freshman Scotty Pippen Jr. added 10 points for Vanderbilt.

• It was announced before the Texas A&M game that Vanderbilt’s leading scorer Aaron Nesmith would be out indefinitely with a right foot injury. Prior to the injury, Nesmith led the SEC in scoring with 23.0 points per game and was fifth nationally. He also led the SEC and nation in 3FG/game with 4.29 and 3FG% at .522. He had also made an SEC-best 60 threes this season through 14 games. He also ranked eighth in free-throw percentage (.825) and field-goal percentage (.512) prior to his injury.

• With Nesmith out indefinitely, junior guard Saben Lee emerges as the team’s scoring leader. He is averaging 15.7 points and 5.1 assists per game, which ranks 9th and 4th in the SEC in all games, respectively. Lee is also fifth in field goal percentage (.512) and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49).

• Lee has 980 career points. If he reaches the 1,000-point mark, he will be the 49th Commodore to join the elite 1,000-point club.

• Lee claimed SEC Player of the Week honors after his performance against Buffalo, becoming the first Commodore to win the award since Jeff Roberson on Feb. 19, 2018. Lee joins Scotty Pippen Jr. as weekly honorees from the SEC this season. Pippen Jr. was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 25 when he averaged 17 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in two Commodore wins over Austin Peay and South Carolina State, respectively.

• Scotty Pippen Jr. is ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assists/game (8th, 4.5), free throws made (6th, 58), free throws attempted (6th, 81), and assist-to-turnover ratio (4th, 1.91).

• The Commodores are a youthful bunch - in the last game against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt started three true freshmen (Pippen Jr., Disu, Wright), a redshirt sophomore (Obinna), and a junior (Lee).

• Nesmith scored 34 points twice this season - against UNC Wilmington on Dec. 21 and earlier this season at Richmond on Nov. 14. Nesmith’s performance against the Spiders was the most points by a Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster vs. Miss. State (3/5/08), and the most points by a Vanderbilt player on the road since Billy McCaffrey at Georgia (35, 2/24/93). Nesmith was the first Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster in 2008 to score 30 or more points in multiple games in a season.

• New head coach Jerry Stackhouse is the 28th men’s basketball coach in the history of Vanderbilt basketball. He is the first African American Commodore men’s basketball head coach and is one of two current African American head coaches in the Southeastern Conference (Cuonzo Martin, Missouri).

• As a team, the Commodores are first in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.375) and second in threes made/game (9.5). Vanderbilt has been to the charity stripe 342 times this season, which ranks second in the SEC.

• The Commodores are one of only three schools (UNLV and Princeton) to have made a three-point basket since the inception of the three-point line in the 1986-87 season. With a made three against Arkansas, Vanderbilt will move to 1,080 consecutive games with a three-pointer.

• The Commodores have had five first-round NBA Draft picks since 2012, the second-most in the SEC in that time span - Darius Garland (5th, Cleveland Cavaliers), Wade Baldwin IV (17th, Memphis Grizzlies), Damian Jones (30th, Golden State Warriors), and John Jenkins (23rd, Atlanta) and Festus Ezeli (30th, Golden State). Garland, Jones, and former standout Luke Kornet (Chicago Bulls) are all active players in the NBA.

Series Information

Series Record: Arkansas leads, 26-12

Last Meeting: Arkansas - W, 84-48

March 6, 2019 - Nashville, Tenn.

At Arkansas: Arkansas leads, 15-3

Jerry Stackhouse vs. Arkansas: First meeting

Arkansas Series Records/Important Dates

• Arkansas leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt, 26-12. Thirty-six of the 38 matchups have come as conference members.

• The Razorbacks lead the series in Fayetteville, 15-3. This will be the sixth consecutive season Vanderbilt has played at Bud Walton Arena.

• This will be the 19th meeting between the two schools in Fayetteville.

• 2.7.17 - The Commodores, who earlier in the season lost a heartbreaking 71-70 decision to the Razorback in Nashville, responded with a win in Fayetteville after jumping out to a 25-4 lead.

• 2.27.10 - Vanderbilt ended a six-game losing streak in Fayetteville and gave then-Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings his first-ever win at Bud Walton Arena. Jeffery Taylor led five Vanderbilt players in double figures with 18 points.