For 20 minutes, the Aaron Nesmith-less Vanderbilt Commodores seemed to have found a spark. Maxwell Evans, the junior from Houston who came in to the game averaging 7.5 ppg, tied his career high with 16 points... in the first half. And Vanderbilt had held both of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ big guns (Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe) scoreless in the first half. Arkansas led 34-28 at the break, but they seemed to be doing everything you thought they would need to do to have a shot at ending their 22-game SEC losing streak.
Unfortunately, neither Evans nor the Commodores could keep things up in the second half. After an Ejike Obinna dunk to open the second frame, Dylan Disu picked up a hook-and-hold flagrant foul against Adrio Bailey, and Joe — after the scoreless first half — connected on a couple of three-pointers to extend the Razorback lead to 10. Arkansas slowly pulled away from there, as Vanderbilt couldn’t make baskets — the Commodores shot 5-of-18 from three for the night — and couldn’t take care of the ball, finishing the night with 16 turnovers. And Evans, after tying his career high in the first half, was held scoreless in the second half (though Saben Lee did finish with 17 points.)
It’s about what we expected. Arkansas won 75-55, though it felt a bit closer than that at times. Vanderbilt is now 8-8 and 0-3 in the SEC, and will get its next chance to end the losing on Saturday when Vocokyteps (OO) comes to town.