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Vanderbilt’s 63-point second half upends No. 15 Arkansas

Jan 14, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Jordan Wright (4) battles with Arkansas Razorbacks guard Jordan Walsh (13) and guard Anthony Black (0) for a rebound during the first half at Memorial Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Wright scored 13 points during Vanderbilt’s 20-3 second-half run, propelling the Commodores past No. 15 Arkansas 97-84 in Southeastern Conference play Saturday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn.

After a tension-filled first half that ended with a seven-point possession for the Razorbacks, Vanderbilt (9-8, 2-2 SEC) caught fire from the field in a 63-point second half.

In the sizzling 20 minutes, Vanderbilt was 18 of 26 (69.2 percent) from the field, including a 6 for 9 showing from long range. Overall, it was 10 of 18 (55.6 percent) from distance.

Tyrin Lawrence led the Commodores with 22 points while Wright finished with 17. Myles Stute scored 15, Liam Robbins 14 and Trey Thomas 13 as they beat a ranked team for the first time this season.

Ricky Council IV scored 24 points and Anthony Black had 18 to carry Arkansas (12-5, 1-4), but the Razorbacks could not keep up with Vanderbilt’s sharpshooters. Davonte Davis had 17 points and Makhi Mitchell 11 as the Razorbacks lost for the fourth time in five games.

With Vanderbilt’s top scorer and rebounder Robbins on the bench after drawing two fouls in a nine-second span, the home side still managed to take a 15-11 lead nine minutes in behind seven points from Lawrence.

At the 5:57 mark with Arkansas ahead 27-24, a lengthy delay occurred when the Razorbacks’ Kamani Johnson made hard contact with Stute during an inbounds play, sending the Vanderbilt forward to the floor. Johnson and Vanderbilt’s Wright received technical fouls, with Johnson’s upgraded to a Flagrant 1.

Arkansas went on an 8-2 run after the incident, but tensions surfaced a second time in the final minute after Black made a layup but was fouled. Players came together under the hoop, and Vanderbilt’s Ezra Manjon was ejected for a Flagrant 2 technical for shoving Black.

During the officials’ explanation to the coaches, Commodores coach Jerry Stackhouse received a technical and walked away angrily. The Razorbacks then shot seven free throws — with Council making four and Black one — and led 42-34 after the tense half.

In a flurry of shots, Vanderbilt hit seven of eight to open the second and trimmed their deficit to 54-53 at 14:16 following Stute’s tip-in. His running shot and Wright’s two baskets put the Commodores up 69-59 with 8:34 remaining.

–Field Level Media