NASHVILLE, Tenn. — This one is going to sting for a bit.
No. 15 Arkansas blew a double-digit lead in the second half and watched Vanderbilt shoot over 60% to come away with a 97-84 win Saturday afternoon in a surprising turnaround that left folks scratching their head.
“Ninety-seven points is a lot of points to give up in a college game,” Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman said later.
Ricky Council IV led the way for Arkansas with 24 points in the losing effort. Anthony Black added 20 and Davonte Davis pitched in 17 for the Razorbacks.
In what was a long, physical and chippy first half of play, it was Arkansas that pulled ahead 42-34 at the break behind 55.2% shooting from the field and 31 combined points from Council and Black.
No sooner than it felt like the Hogs had firm control early in the second half, things began to unravel as Vanderbilt caught fire and roared back from a double-digit deficit to go up by as many as 14 with just under eight minutes to play.
The Hogs cut the lead to as little as six with just over two minutes to play, but the Hogs were unable to completely dig out of the hole down the stretch as the Commodores held on for the victory.
Hogs coach Eric Musselman made a lineup tweak for the second consecutive game as leading scorer Ricky Council IV replaced Jordan Walsh alongside Anthony Black, Davonte Davis and the Mitchell twins in the starting five.
Now the Hogs will stay on the 0-2 road stretch, going to Columbia (Mo.) on Wednesday against No. 20 Missouri (13-3, 2-2 SEC) for an 8 p.m. tip on SEC Network.
It will be the second meeting between the teams this season. The Razorbacks rallied from 17 down to defeat the Tigers on Jan. 4 in Fayetteville, 74-68.
From there the Hogs will return home for just the second Saturday contest in Bud Walton Arena of the year when it hosts Ole Miss (8-8, 0-4 SEC) for an early 11 a.m. tip in Fayetteville (Ark.).