Late Three Lifts Razorbacks over Vanderbilt
FAYETTEVILLE – Keyshawn Embery-Simpson drilled a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to give Arkansas 67-66 lead and, after Jalen Harris forced a turnover on the ensuing Vanderbilt possession, Mason Jones sank two free throws with seven seconds left for a 69-66 victory over the Commodores Tuesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Vanderbilt had one final chance to tie the game, but Matt Ryan missed a 3-pointer and Jalen Harris pulled down the rebound to secure the Razorbacks’ fourth consecutive SEC victory.
Not only did Daniel Gafford provide the assist on Embery-Simpson’s 3-pointer, the sophomore scored a game-high 28 points, making a career-high 10-of-12 free throws. Isaiah Joe made six 3-pointers and scored 18 points while handing out a game and career-high five assists.
Arkansas trailed most of the first half before making a charge at the end of the period, thanks to three 3-pointers by Joe, to trail by one, 35-34 at halftime.
Gafford kept the momentum going after intermission, scoring the first six points (two field goals and two free throws) to start the second half and give the Razorbacks a five-point lead. Arkansas would eventually lead by as many as 10 (56-46) midway through the second half.
Vanderbilt went on a 14-2 run over the next five minutes, capped by a Saben Lee triple, to put the Commodores up two. Gafford answered with a dunk to tie the game. Vandy regained a one-point lead before Gafford slammed home another to put the Hogs up one (62-61) with three minutes to play.
The Commodores would go up two (66-64) with 40 seconds left, forcing an Arkansas timeout. Embery-Simpson checked into the game during the stoppage and, 20 seconds later, hit the biggest shot of his young career to put his squad up one with 14 seconds left.
Arkansas returns to the road for two games. First, the Razorbacks travel to Columbia, S.C., to face the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday (Feb. 9). Arkansas will then play at Columbia, Mo., versus the Missouri Tigers on Tuesday (Feb. 12).
Keyshawn Embery-Simpson Game-Winner
Reggie Chaney STRONG Finish
Dan Gafford Finishes Oop
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 34 – Vanderbilt 35
- Arkansas scored the first six points of the game on 3-pointers by Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones.
- Vanderbilt answered with an 8-0 run to go up 8-6 and held the lead the rest of the half.
- The Commodores led by 10 (28-18) with 3:57 left.
- Arkansas closed the half by outscoring Vanderbilt 16-7 thanks to three 3-pointers by Isaiah Joe.
- Daniel Gafford was 8-of-9 at the free throw line in the first half.
- Isaiah Joe had 15 in the first half, Daniel Gafford added 12.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas only committed three turnovers.
- Daniel Gafford scored the first six points of the half, two baskets and two free throws, to give Arkansas a 40-35 lead to start the period.
- The Razorbacks took their largest lead – 10 points – on a Reggie Chaney dunk off a Daniel Gafford assist with 10:17 left.
- Twice after Vandy took brief leads inside the final six minutes, Daniel Gafford had dunks to put the Razorbacks back on top.
- Mason Jones only scored seven points, but four came inside the final 1:45. First, down one, he made a layup to put Arkansas up one, 64-63. Then, with seven seconds left, he made two free throws to help seal the win.
- Arkansas’ starters were Isaiah Joe (G) – Jalen Harris (G) – Mason Jones (G) – Adrio Bailey (F) – Daniel Gafford (F). This has been Arkansas’ starting lineup in 20 of its 22 games.
- Arkansas controlled the tip. Isaiah Joe scored the first points of the game, a 3-pointer from the right corner at 19:28.
- This was the 37th meeting between Arkansas and Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks own a 25-12 advantage in the all-time series, including a 15-3 record in Fayetteville. Arkansas has won six of the last seven in the series.
- This was the fifth straight time Vanderbilt has come to Fayetteville for a regular-season game. Arkansas will play at Vandy on Mar. 6, marking the Razorbacks’ first trip to Memorial Gymnasium since Feb. 8, 2014.
- Arkansas has won at least four straight SEC games in each of the last six years. The Razorbacks’ best SEC win streak during the last six years is seven in 2014-15 (Feb. 3-24).
- Arkansas took a season-high six charges, including two by Isaiah Joe. Arkansas has taken 50 charges in 22 games this season, eclipsing last year’s 35-game total of 47.
- Mason Jones has scored late in the last two games to lift Arkansas to wins. At LSU, he made a jumper in the lane with 22 seconds left for a 90-89 lead, which was the final score as well. Tonight, with Arkansas up one, he made two free throws with eight seconds left for a 3-point cushion, providing the eventual 69-66 final. Jones also made (and missed on purpose) a free throw with two seconds left versus Indiana in game three of the season to give Arkansas a 73-72 win.
- Isaiah Joe has made 79 3-pointers this season. The Arkansas record for 3-pointers made in a season is 83 by Rotnei Clarke in 2008-09. Joe, with 10 guaranteed games left (nine regular season and one SEC tourney game), is on pace to make 115 3-pointers this season. The Arkansas record for 3-pointers in 102 by Scotty Thurman (1994-95). The SEC record for 3-pointers made in a season by a freshman is 113 by Kentucky’s Jamal Murray (2015-16).
- Isaiah Joe has made at least four 3-pointers in game 10 times this season.
- Arkansas has made a 3-pointer in 999 consecutive games. Through games on Tuesday (Feb. 5), The Razorbacks are tied with Western Kentucky for fourth on the NCAA list of most consecutive 3-pointers made. The NCAA leaders are UNLV (1,060 – plays Wednesday), Vanderbilt (1,053), Duke (1,043), Western Kentucky (999 – plays Wednesday) and Arkansas (999).
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