FAYETTEVILLE, AR (arkansasrazorbacks.com) — A pestering Arkansas defense forced 26 Vanderbilt turnovers, including a slick pickpocket by Jabril Durham with five seconds left in overtime to clinch the game, as the Razorbacks defeated the Commodores 90-85 on Tuesday night to improve to .500 both overall and in SEC play (7-7, 1-1).
The two-headed monster of Anthlon Bell and Moses Kingsley combined for 51 points – Bell with 26 and Kingsley with 25 – to lead Arkansas on the offensive end. But the aggression on the defensive end won the contest for the Razorbacks, with season highs of 25 forced turnovers and 15 steals, all while allowing only six offensive rebounds.
Down 7-1 three minutes into the game, Kingsley broke free for back-to-back dunks, including an alley-oop from Dusty Hannahs, to get Arkansas started on a 16-6 run. After Vandy claimed a 27-25 lead later in the first half, the Razorbacks finished the frame on a 15-5 spurt to lead 38-32 after 20 minutes.
An important sequence came at the end of the first half, when Anton Beard got a driving layup to fall with 29 seconds left. The Razorbacks pressured on defense, but the Commodores broke free and it seemed Nolan Cressler had a wide open dunk. But out of nowhere came Jimmy Whitt to reject Cressler as time expired to help Arkansas retain its eight-point lead going into the break.
For 12 minutes in the second half, Keaton Miles sat the bench and waited. When he subbed back in with 2:29 remaining and Arkansas down 72-70, he proceeded to hit the two biggest shots of his Razorback career to put the team ahead 74-72. But after Vandy responded with three straight points, it took more late-game heroics by Bell.
Two games after forcing overtime at Dayton with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, Bell took a feed from Durham on the right wing and drained a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining to put Arkansas up 77-75. But just when the game seemed to be clinched, the Commodores' Damian Jones took a long in-bounds feed, strode towards the hoop and erupted for a game-tying dunk as time expired to extend the contest.
With 24 points and 15 rebounds, Jones fouled out in overtime and the Razorbacks took advantage, outscoring Vanderbilt 13-8 in the extra frame. Arkansas hit 7-of-8 foul shots in overtime to ice the game, including four consecutively by Durham in the final 20 seconds.