Coming off a week in which Vanderbilt split road games at Alabama and at No. 5/6 Tennessee, the Commodores will return home on Thursday to face Arkansas at 7 p.m. CT in a key SEC matchup.
The Commodores are coming off a 68-56 loss on ESPN’s College GameDay at Tennessee. Vanderbilt (12-6, 3-2 SEC) trailed by as many as 22 points, but were within single digits multiple times in the second half. No. 23/24 Arkansas (15-2, 3-2 SEC) is coming off a 57-53 win at Alabama. Thursday’s game will be pivotal in the SEC standings as both teams are tied for fourth with 3-2 records.
Vanderbilt has won seven straight matchups and 12 of last 13 meetings with Arkansas. Vanderbilt has been especially successful at home in the series, where it is 9-1 all-time with the lone loss coming in 2001. Although the Commodores have been very successful in the series, two of the last three wins have come in overtime.
Arkansas went 12-0 in non-conference play with wins at Utah and Oklahoma. The Razorbacks have losses at Florida and at home against Georgia. Their wins have come at Alabama, at Mississippi State and against Kentucky. The Commodores also defeated Alabama and Mississippi State with an average margin of victory of 18.5 points compared to 4.5 points by Arkansas.
Before Saturday’s loss to Tennessee, the Commodores had won three straight in the SEC. Two of those wins came at home where Vanderbilt is a perfect 9-0 for the first time since starting 11-0 at home during the 2006-07 season.
Thursday’s game will air on 560 AM in Nashville with longtime play-by-play announcer Charlie Mattos on the call. Fans may view the webcast of the game online by subscribing to All-Access on VUCommodores.com. Senior Jence Rhoads will be honored before the game for reach 1,000 career points.
Last Time Out No. 5/6 Tennessee landed its opening punch and a wide-eyed Vanderbilt team never could recover as the Lady Vols knocked off the Commodores 68-56 Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
With the lights of ESPN’s College GameDay shining on Knoxville, Vanderbilt basketball suffered a forgettable day with the men’s and women’s teams falling in front of the largest crowds either team has played in front of this season.
In the nightcap of GameDay’s first-ever doubleheader, Vanderbilt (12-6, 3-2 SEC) could not recover from a dreadful shooting start in which the Commodores were put into a 21-5 hole in which Tennessee (17-2, 5-0 SEC) scored 18 straight points after Vanderbilt started just 2-of-25 from the floor.
Despite going 9 minutes, 21 seconds between field goals and finishing the first half with just 17 points after shooting 18.9 percent from the floor, Vanderbilt remained very much in the game and trailed only by 12, 29-17. The 17 points in a half were the fewest by a Commodore team since scoring just 15 second-half points at LSU last season.
The Commodores opened the second half by scoring the first four points to pull within eight 29-21 with 19:08 to play. However Tennessee would then go on a 21-7 run to take a 50-28 lead with 11:27 to play. The 22-point lead was its largest of the game and VU’s largest deficit of the season.
About Arkansas The Razorbacks have shown much improvement from last year’s team that went 12-18 overall and 4-12 in the SEC. Arkansas is 15-2 this season and finished non-conference play 12-0 with wins at Utah and against No. 12 Oklahoma.
Arkansas is coached by Tom Collen, who is in his fourth season in Fayetteville after coaching at Louisivlle from 2003-07, where he went 88-37 with three NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Razorbacks are led by three players who average in double figures. Guard Lyndsay Harris is averaging a team-best 13.6 points. Sophomore center Sarah Watkins is averaging 13.1 points per game and guard C’eira Ricketts is averaging 12.8 points.
Arkansas Series Vanderbilt is 19-5 all-time against Arkansas and is 9-1 against the Razorbacks at home. Vanderbilt’s only loss at home was a 68-64 setback in 2001. The Commodores have won 12 of 13 games with Arkansas. Two of Vanderbilt’s last three wins in the series have been in overtime. Head Coach Melanie Balcomb is 11-1 against Arkansas.
70 is the Magic Number Vanderbilt is 12-1 when it holds an opponent to less than 70 points and 0-5 when an opponent scores at least 70 points. The only loss came at Tennessee when the Lady Vols scored 68. Vanderbilt is also 10-0 when its scores at least 70 points.
Rhoads Reaches 1,000 Points Senior Jence Rhoads became the 33rd player to reach 1,000 career points after scoring 10 points at Tennessee on Feb. 13. Rhoads is the second Vanderbilt player to reach 1,000 career points this season.
On Dec. 29, teammate Hannah Tuomi scored 11 points against Delaware to become the 32nd player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
Commodores Go Cold in Knoxville Vanderbilt had its worst shooting performance of the season at Tennessee, making 33.3 percent from the floor. The Commodores began the game 2-of-25 from the floor and shot just 18.9% in the first half (7-of-37).
The shooting slump came after the Commodores had their second best shooting performance of the season in each of its previous two games. VU shot 52.0% against Auburn and then 56.9% at Alabama.
Vanderbilt leads the SEC in free-throw percentage, and rank second in field-goal percentage and three-point percentage.
Low Scoring Half at Tennessee Vanderbilt scored a season-low 56 points at Tennessee and just 17 points in the first half. The 17 points were the fewest in a half by VU since scoring 15 in the second half at LSU last season. In 2008, Vanderbilt scored just 10 first-half points at LSU.