Vanderbilt falls to Arkansas, 76-62, at SEC Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After three games in three days, Vanderbilt’s run in the 2017 SEC Tournament came to a close on Saturday. No. 3-seed Arkansas (25-8, 12-6 SEC) used a hot-shooting second half to knock No. 7-seed Vanderbilt out of the SEC bracket, topping the Commodores, 76-62.

Vanderbilt trailed by just four points, 35-31, at halftime but allowed Arkansas to stage a 10-0 run and take control out of the gate in the second half.

Riley LaChance led Vanderbilt with 12 points.

Vanderbilt finished the season 19-15 (10-8 SEC). The Commodores now await their postseason destination.

Moses Kingsley had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the third-seeded Razorbacks.

”What a tremendous effort, a team win,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ”We came out, got off to a good start against a Vanderbilt team that was one of the hottest teams in the country. We knew what we had to do. They were playing their game in three days, and we had to make the game chaotic for them.”

The Razorbacks (25-8) won their third straight to reach the championship for the seventh time. They will play eighth-ranked Kentucky, a 79-74 winner over Alabama , for the second time in three years Sunday.

Arkansas simply smothered Vanderbilt, especially in the paint where the Razorbacks had a 46-16 scoring edge.

Jaylen Barford led Arkansas with 18 points. Dusty Hannahs added 16 and Daryl Macon 15.

Seventh-seeded Vanderbilt (19-15) snapped a three-game winning streak end after reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2013.

”Just seemed like Arkansas was a little faster to the ball, a little faster to the rim, shot a little bit better, did everything a little bit better than us,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said.

In addition to LaChance, Joe Toye added 12 points, while Jeff Roberson and Matthew Fisher-Davis each had 10.

These teams won on each other’s floor during the season with Vandy a blown 15-point lead away from sweeping Arkansas.

This time, the Razorbacks led 35-31 at halftime and took control with a 26-8 run to start the second half.

”We knew if we came out the second half would be our half if we just kept running and executing,” Hannahs said .

Drew tried to rest his starters where he could in the first half with Luke Kornet and Roberson playing only 12 minutes after each played at least 38 minutes in Friday’s overtime win over No. 17 Florida in the quarterfinals. It just wasn’t enough as the Commodores missed their first nine shots to start the game and the first six of the second.

Vandy used a 12-2 run to take its first lead but couldn’t hold it for long.

Barford scored seven of his 10 points in a quick spurt after a tie at 19 to put the Razorbacks ahead to stay.

Arkansas, outscored only three times in the second half all season, wound up leading by as much as 27. Vanderbilt used a 13-0 run late to make the final margin more respectable.


Vanderbilt: Bubble talk still surrounds the Commodores despite having six Top 50 wins, though three of those came at the expense of Florida. Now they have to wait and see if those wins and a victory over Iowa State are enough to put them into the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year and 15th overall.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks polished their tournament resume with a big win – their eighth in nine games. Now they can take another shot at Kentucky looking for the program’s second SEC tournament title and first since 2000. They were the No. 3 seed that year too.


Vanderbilt: Anxiously waiting for NCAA Tournament announcement.

Arkansas: Kentucky in Sunday’s championship.