Razorbacks improve to 17-8 overall, 6-6 in SEC.
FAYETTEVILLE - If ineptitude was the objective then the Arkansas Razorbacks started a perfect 5 for 5.
Five possessions and five turnovers without firing a shot marked Arkansas opening against Vanderbilt Saturday night.
But a 72-54 SEC sinking of the Commodores marked the finish with a flourish of an Arkansas evening paced as usual by Razorbacks senior guards Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford with 6-11 freshman Daniel Gafford of El Dorado also back up to form.
Gafford excelled both ends of the court blocking seven shots, scoring 16 points and leading all rebounders with nine.
Hitting only 2 of 8 first-half shots, Macon sizzled the second half scoring 15 of his 21 points including 4 of 5 second-half 3-point tries.
It marked Macon’s seventh consecutive game scoring 20 points or better.
Barford most ignited the Hogs from their early first-half follies and finished with 16 points, eight each half.
Coach Mike Anderson’s Razorback improved to 17-8 overall, 6-6 in the SEC going into Tuesday night’s SEC game at Ole Miss.
Coach Bryce Drew’s Commodores, convincing winners over Georgia their previous game, fall to 9-16, 3-9 and host Mississippi State Wednesday night in Nashville, Tenn.
Other than free throws, 23 of 29 including a dozen for a dozen in the first half, the Commodores couldn’t have hit a battleship with a paddle. They shot 4 of 26 for first half and 14 of 56 for the game including but three for the game.
Vandy’s two high scorers for the season averaging a combined 30 points a game, senior forward Jeff Roberson and guard Riley LaChance scored but eight points each Saturday and shot a combined 5 of 21 from the field including 1 for 11 treys.
Despite their 5 for 5 futility with 5 turnovers for their first 5 possessions, the Razorbacks only trailed 4-0 before Gafford broke the drought salvaging a too-high pass from Macon and converting it to a dunk.
Vandy’s failure to capitalize on Arkansas’ 5 for 5 follies was first-half trendsetting.
The traditionally sharp-shooting Commodores shot abysmally, 4 of 26 for the first half including 1 of 14 trey attempts..
Roberson, their leading scorer averaging 16.3 entering the game, ended the half benched with three fouls and 0 for 5 scoreless.
So after Arkansas’ fumbles and bumbles helped Vandy peak a 13-7 lead, the Razorbacks capitalized on the Commodores impaired shooting impaired and sufficiently clung to a nd shot the ball for a 15-0 run and 22-13 lead.
That Vandy ultimately almost committed as many first-half turnovers as Arkansas, 9 vs. 10, also helped Arkansas’ cause.
Vandy trailed only 28-21 at half because while unable to hit from the field, the Commodores didn’t miss from the free throw line, 12 for 12.
Arkansas wasn’t winning any first-half marksmanship awards from the field either, 10 for 26, but Barford nailed a couple of threes on the 15-0 run, the first for a 15-13 lead after Roberson air-balled and attempted trey.
In the second half Vandy had cut an 11-point lead to eight when Barford buried consecutive treys for a 45-31 lead at 12:19 before benched on his third foul and replaced by Macon at 11:55.
Macon instantly hit a trey and kept on hitting them.