There's a reason why Bobby Portis is regarded as a potential lottery pick in the 2015 or 2015 NBA Draft. He gave scouts 32 more on Saturday when he led #23 Arkansas to a 82-70 victory over Vanderbilt.
Portis scored 32 points on just 18 shots and added 11 rebounds to continue the Razorbacks' undefeated run through SEC play. Damian Jones, by comparison, had 14 and seven but also a significantly smaller impact on the game than his sophomore big man peer.
The Commodores led 2-1 early on, but then never again as this young team never quite found the momentum that could carry them to a big road win. Vandy's long-range shooting kept them alive, but sloppy ballhandling and their inability to stop Arkansas in the pain(t) ultimately unraveled them. The 'Dores committed 22 turnovers in the loss.
Vanderbilt trailed by double digits near the midway point of the first half, but the team's freshmen had no interest in rolling over despite a hostile Walton Arena crowd's wishes. Matthew Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance gleaned nine points out of three straight possessions to help cut Arkansas's lead down to a single point with 9:57 to play. Unfortunately, an 7-0 response from the Hogs deflated Vandy's comeback hopes.
Ultimately, the 'Dores just had no answer for Portis's play in the paint. Vanderbilt trailed 60-66 with 6:15 remaining, but they didn't have the energy to chase down a fired up Razorback team. Arkansas extinguished any talk of an upset with a 16-6 run that bled this game into garbage time.
The Commodores fell to 11-4 on the season and 1-1 in SEC play. Arkansas improved to 13-2 and 2-0. Vanderbilt will return to action on Wednesday when they host 9-4 Georgia.