Razorbacks lost grip, but won game - The Mena Star: Sports

Razorbacks lost grip, but won game

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Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 2:43 pm

Arkansas periodically lost grip of the game but the Vanderbilt Commodores constantly lost grip of the ball.

So despite losing a 45-32 second half lead in just 6 minutes and 9 seconds and losing a 2-point lead on a 94-feet inbounds pass and dunk in the final 2.2 seconds of the 82-82 regulation and quickly trailing by three during the overtime, Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks stole a 90-85 victory evening their overall and SEC records at 7-7 and 1-1 going into Saturday afternoon’s SEC game against Mississippi State at Walton.

Coach Kevin Stallings’ Commodores fell to 8-6, 0-2 committing 26 turnovers, including five in overtime, against the defensively opportunistic Hogs. Outscored 29-9 off turnovers, Vandy’s fate was sealed with its final turnover, a steal by Arkansas point guard Jabril Durham off Vandy point guard Wade Baldwin drawing a Baldwin foul with seconds left and Arkansas up 88-85.

Durham sank both and the Hogs sealed the 90-85 victory they appeared to have won 82-80 in regulation on Anthlon Bell’s sixth 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left.

Anderson called timeout to set the defense but still the Hogs miscommunicated, Anderson said.

A switch that Anderson said they weren’t supposed to make left 7-foot center Damian Jones guarded by 6-foot guard Anton Beard when 7-footer Luke Kornet heaved the inbounds pass that Jones dunked to tie it at the buzzer.

“Kevin drew something up and it worked,” Anderson said.

0-2 in previous overtime game vs. Mercer at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock and at Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, the Hogs didn’t collapse into “panic mode,” Anderson said, when all seemed slipping away again with Jones’ devastating dunk into OT.

“Disbelief,” Anderson said chuckling, “but not a panic mode. I thought they showed a lot of heart when they went back out there and started getting stops and we saw them turn the ball over. I really believe fatigue was a factor. As we got into that extra period I thought our guys had a lot more energy than Vanderbilt did.”

Certainly they had more ball control.

“We just had too many breakdowns in the end to be able to win the game,” Stallings said. “We gave a good effort, but didn't take care of the ball well.”

It’s a tribute to both teams that either had energy given the various ups and downs that each team weathered and some of the outstanding individual performances fashioned.

For Arkansas, Bell, 6 of 10 on threes, scored a game leading 26 points while center Moses Kingsley scored 25 with eight rebounds and four steals while Durham scored 11, dished six assists and made four crucial steals including the game-winner.

Junior transfer guard Dusty Hannahs, in only his second start, only hit 2 of 11 shots hitting 9 of 10 free throws to score 13. Hannahs’ overtime floater inside breaking an 82-82 tie followed by the last two at 1:05 of his 9 for 10 free throws put the Hogs ahead to stay. Vandy’s Riley LaChance’s three with 50 seconds left cut it to 84-83 and two Baldwin free throws with 26 seconds left answered an intervening Kingsley layup to cut it 86-85 before Durham’s two free throws with 20 seconds left and his steal and free throws with five seconds left iced it.

Overtime never would have been achieved without Keaton Miles, three blocked shots and two steals, hitting his only two Arkansas baskets with 1:50 and 1:21 left in regulation.

“Whether defensively Jabril touching the ball going down the stretch or offensively, Bell knocking down some big shots for us or Keaton Miles doing some yeoman’s work, to me it was a total team effort,” Anderson said. “Moses doing what he does and Jabril and Dusty getting to the free throw line and knocking down free throws … it was a total team effort.”

Anderson sailed praise to the Commodores, too.

Vandy hit 10 of 20 threes led by guard Matthew Fisher-Davis, 4 of 8 threes and 20 points, and LaChance’s 2 of 5 with 10 points and Kornet, his first game back from missing six with a knee injury, hitting 2 of 3 treys and scoring 11 with eight boards.

Baldwin scored 13 but Arkansas rattled him into eight turnovers.

Vandy’s biggest of all, Jones tallied a 24 points/15 rebounds double-double.

“I was proud of our guys really gutting it out against a very good Vanderbilt team,” Anderson said. “We knew coming in they are a team that can shoot the basketball. They spread they floor, and when you have a pro player like Damian that’s in that middle, I tell you what they were hard to guard.”

Bell said it wasn’t Arkansas complacency enabling the Commodores to come back from down 13 in the second half.

“A game is never over with because good teams like Vandy find a way,” Bell said. “But five more extra minutes we knew fatigue would be a factor going down the stretch.”

Miles remarked, “We focused on defense first and playing Arkansas 40 minutes of hell.”

Make that 45 minutes and they needed every hellish minute of it.

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