Nashville, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt Commodores ended the 2012-2013 season for the Arkansas Razorbacks, barring an invite to the NIT, after beating the Hogs 75-72 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Razorbacks (19-13) were down as many as 16 in the second half but managed to pull the game within two in the closing minutes but could not make the needed play to tie the game or add the go-ahead points.
Vanderbilt (15-16) took advantage of the porous Arkansas defense throughout the first half and much of the second half shooting lights out from three-point land, 12 of 28, and easily getting to the basket on transition baskets. Already playing with a smaller lineup, Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson continued to play with his smaller lineup not using the one true shot blocker they have on the team, forward/center Hunter Mickelson.
Mickelson’s rotation into the Arkansas lineup greatly diminished after the Hogs beat Florida on February 5. In the upset win for the Razorbacks over the Gators Mickelson played in 20 minutes but only played over 15 minutes in a game twice since (Georgia and Kentucky).
Vanderbilt, winners of five of their last six, handled the pressing defense of Arkansas only committing 12 turnovers. The young Vandy team stretched the lead to 59-43 in the second half before allowing an Arkansas comeback.
Arkansas got a team-high 16 points from BJ Young with Marshawn Powell adding 13 points with nine rebounds. Freshman forward Michael Qualls scored 10 in the loss.
Vanderbilt forward Rod Odom scored a game-high 20 points including 5 of 9 shooting from behind the arc. Kyle Fuller added 19, easily outpacing his eight point per game scoring average during the regular season.
The Commodores will play Kentucky tomorrow in the third round of the SEC Tournament.