Vanderbilt holds on to beat Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena

Arkansas guard Tramon Mark (12) is defended by Vanderbilt guard Tyrin Lawrence (0) during a game Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Fayetteville. (Caleb Grieger/NWA Democrat-Gazette)
Arkansas guard Tramon Mark (12) is defended by Vanderbilt guard Tyrin Lawrence (0) during a game Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Fayetteville. (Caleb Grieger/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — Vanderbilt continued to be a thorn in the side of the Arkansas men’s basketball team Tuesday.

The Commodores grabbed their first lead three minutes before halftime and preserved it throughout the game’s remainder to hand the Razorbacks an 85-82 loss at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas (14-14, 5-10 SEC) fell behind by as many as 16 points with 6:07 remaining before it rallied to get within 83-82 with 5 seconds left. Tramon Mark missed an off-balanced three-pointer at the buzzer.

Vanderbilt (8-20, 3-12 SEC) snapped a three-game losing streak and won its first road game. The Commodores won for a third consecutive time against Arkansas, a streak that dates to Jan. 23, 2021. 

The Razorbacks’ six home losses are their most since 2008-09.

The loss was the worst yet for Arkansas, according to the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) ranking. Vanderbilt entered the game ranked No. 230 in the NET, which made the result qualify as a Quadrant 4 loss for the Razorbacks. Arkansas dropped to 4-1 in games played against the bottom quadrant.

The Razorbacks fell into a tie for 12th place in the SEC standings with Georgia and took a step closer to having to play one of the Wednesday games at next month's SEC Tournament.

The Razorbacks led by as many as 10 points in the first half before Vanderbilt seized control when it ended the period on a 14-6 run.

Arkansas stormed out to a 7-0 lead, but Vanderbilt took a 35-31 lead into intermission. Arkansas was held to one field goal over the half’s final 12:45.

The Commodores scored the first six points of the second half to take a 41-31 lead before El Ellis made a three-pointer to trim the Arkansas deficit to 41-34. 

Vanderbilt built its lead to back to 9 points, but a Tramon Mark three-pointer and Khalif Battle layup got the Razorbacks within 45-41 at the under-16-minute media timeout.

Vanderbilt got Arkansas in second-half foul trouble. Tyrin Lawrence converted a three-point play to put the Commodores ahead 50-43 with 12:49 remaining and put his team in the bonus. Vanderbilt made 16 free throws over the game’s remainder.

Battle made his first three-pointer with 11:14 left to awaken the home crowd and pull Arkansas within 52-48. But the Commodores scored six quick points — ending with a steal and transition layup by Paul Lewis — that silenced the arena and gave Vanderbilt a 59-48 lead.

Vanderbilt grew its lead to 61-48 before Battle made another three-pointer to close the deficit to 10 points. The Commodores responded again and built their lead to 69-53, the largest of the game. 

The Razorbacks chipped away and an Ellis three-pointer with 4:22 left got Arkansas within 74-65.

Battle made a three-pointer and Trevon Brazile hit a free throw with 3:24 left to shrink the lead to 76-69.

After the Commodores extended their advantage with two free throws, back-to-back three-pointers by Brazile and Ellis got Arkansas within 78-75 with 2:04 to play and caused a Vanderbilt timeout. 

Ezra Manjon made a layup out of the timeout to put the Commodores up 80-75 before Battle made a pair of foul shots with 48 seconds left to make the deficit 80-77.

Brazile fouled out on a steal attempt with 23 seconds remaining and Lawrence missed both free throws, but Ven-Allen Lubin corralled an offensive rebound, made a shot and was fouled. Lubin converted the three-point play to give Vanderbilt an 83-77 lead.

Mark made two free throws with 14 seconds left and Arkansas stole the Vanderbilt inbounds pass. Battle hit his fourth three-pointer on a shot that hit the rim, bounced in the air and fell in to pull the Razorbacks within 83-82 with five seconds remaining.

Manjon hit a pair of free throws with three seconds left to put Vanderbilt up 85-82, and after a timeout Mark missed the attempt that would have sent the game to overtime. 

Battle led Arkansas with 36 points. His performance came three days after he scored 42 points during an 88-73 victory over Missouri. 

Battle was 9 of 17 (53%) from the floor, 4 of 10 (40%) from three-point range and 14 of 17 (82%) from the foul line.

Ellis (19 points) and Mark (15) rounded out Arkansas’ double-figure scoring.

Manjon led the Commodores with 22 points, Lawrence added 21 points and Lubin had 19 points.

The Razorbacks were 23 of 57 (40%) from the floor, 10 of 30 (30%) from three-point range and 26 of 31 (84%) from the stripe. 

Vanderbilt was 29 of 57 (51%), 4 of 16 (25%) and 23 of 32 (72%) in those categories, respectively.

Arkansas is scheduled to play at No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised by CBS.

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