Turnovers prove costly in OT loss at Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas has been involved in plenty of close games this season.

The Razorbacks just haven’t had much experience winning them – until Tuesday night.

Anthlon Bell scored a season-high 26 points, Moses Kingsley added 25 and Arkansas forced 26 turnovers in a 90-85 overtime victory against Vanderbilt.

Arkansas (7-7, 1-1 SEC) won its first game decided by five points or less this season after playing in its third overtime in five games.

”After the disappointing losses, we needed this one to get our confidence back,” Kingsley said.

Kingsley did his part by scoring in double figures for the 14th time this season. He and Bell, who hit 6 of 10 from 3-point range, scored consistently for Arkansas, which rebounded after its 23-point loss at Texas A&M in a SEC opener last Saturday.

Arkansas also leaned on its defense to pressure Vanderbilt into its season-high for turnovers. The Commodores had 14 during a first half in which the Razorbacks started slow, but managed to build a 40-32 lead behind Kingsley’s 10 points and Bell’s nine.

”We actually talked about that at pregame,” Bell said. ”We knew that a lot of pressure bothers them because they want to come down and run their offense and have people go from A to B.”

Bell and Kingsley helped Arkansas quickly stretch its lead to 13 points early in the second half by scoring five quick points. But the Razorbacks went nearly five minutes without a field goal, while the Commodores used a 20-4 run to take a 52-49 lead.

Kingsley and Bell combined to score Arkansas’ next 16 points, setting up a back-and-forth finish in regulation.

Vanderbilt guard Wade Baldwin IV made a driving layup with 12.8 seconds left to give the Commodores a 75-74 lead. After an Arkansas timeout, Bell knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 77-75 with two seconds left.

Damian Jones caught a full-court pass over 6-foot Arkansas guard Anton Beard and drove to the basket for a dunk at the buzzer to force overtime.

”We were just hoping to throw the ball down there and get an attack on the basket,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. ”Damian made a heck of a play I thought.”

The 7-foot Jones equaled career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds for Vanderbilt (8-6, 0-2).

”It shouldn’t have happened,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ”There shouldn’t have been any switching. We had guys matched up by size with each other. (Beard) should not have been over there on the big fella. It was just miscommunication.

”But our guys, they didn’t put their head down.”

Instead, Arkansas turned to its defense. The Razorbacks forced five turnovers in overtime and converted the Vanderbilt mistakes into eight points. Arkansas outscored Vanderbilt 29-9 off turnovers.

The key stop came in the final seconds as Arkansas guard Jabril Durham had a steal and made two free throws at the other end to give the Razorbacks a five-point lead.

Durham finished with 11 points, six assists and four steals. Matthew Fisher-Davis scored a career-high 20 points for the Commodores, who have lost six of their past nine games after starting the season 5-0.

”We just had too many breakdowns in the end to be able to win the game,” Stallings said.

Vanderbilt: Forward Luke Kornet played for the first time since Dec. 6. The junior had missed the previous five games with a knee injury. Kornet had 11 points and eight rebounds in his return.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks scored 29 points off Vanderbilt’s turnovers. … Moses Kingsley has scored in double figures for the 14th-straight game. Anthlon Bell has reached 10 or more points for the 13th time. … Coach Mike Anderson shook up his lineup, sliding guard Dusty Hannahs into a starting role for the first time since Nov. 18. Hannahs replaced Manuale Watkins in the lineup for his third start of the season.

Vanderbilt travels to South Carolina on Saturday.

Arkansas hosts Mississippi State.