Arkansas rallies from 15-point deficit, stuns Vandy 71-70
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Daryl Macon is really good at knocking down free throws. Until Tuesday night, the Arkansas junior never had been at the line with a chance to win a game.
A little nervous, he hit the first one. Then Macon added two more with 1.6 seconds left, finishing off a stunning rally from a 15-point deficit as Arkansas beat Vanderbilt 71-70 Tuesday night for the Razorbacks’ fourth straight win.
“The only thing that was going through my mind was, ‘Don’t miss. Make all three,’” Macon said. “And that’s why I ... practice free throws every day, and my time came.”
Macon is an 88 percent free throw shooter, fourth-best in the Southeastern Conference, and he hit all 14 in a win against Texas earlier this season. That’s why Arkansas coach Mike Anderson felt confident.
“I’ve got the right guy up there,” Anderson said.
Nolan Cressler’s 3-pointer from about 35 feet hit harmlessly off the rim as time expired. Vanderbilt (9-11, 3-5) lost for the fifth time in six games.
“Obviously, this game hurts,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. “Great position to win this game for 37 minutes.”
Vanderbilt led 58-43 with 6:02 left after finishing a 20-3 run with 15 straight points, taking advantage of the Razorbacks going without a point for over 7 minutes, 24 seconds.
But the Razorbacks (16-4, 5-3) already had won twice on the road in the Southeastern Conference this month after trailing by 12 or more points, and they simply ran their way back into their fourth straight victory over Vanderbilt scoring the last seven points over the final 49 seconds.
The Razorbacks turned in yet another big comeback win on the road, like they did in winning at Tennessee and Texas A&M earlier this month. They got within 70-68 on back-to-back layups by Hannahs, the second with 19.9 seconds left to set up the furious finish.
They used their defense to force the final turnover. Jaylen Barford stole it off a pass from Vanderbilt center Luke Kornet. Hannahs missed a 3-pointer, but Macon was fouled. He hit all three and finished 7 of 7 at the line with 12 points.
“Credit them for making that two minutes their best two of the game,” Drew said.
Dusty Hannahs III paced Arkansas with 17 points off the bench and led five Razorbacks in double figures.
Barford had 15 points, Anton Beard added 11 and Moses Kingsley had 10 for Arkansas.
Riley LaChance led Vanderbilt with 16 points. Jeff Roberson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Joe Toye scored a career-high 13 off the bench.
Vanderbilt had been in control starting with Toye scoring on a 3-point play to put Vandy up 43-40. Macon hit a 3, then Payton Willis, a native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, hit a free throw and a jumper as the Commodores went on a 20-3 run. Toye scored six more in the run, and LaChance capped the spurt with four straight free throws for a 58-43 lead with 6:02 left.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks now have rallied from 12 or more down in their three SEC road wins. They now have beaten Vanderbilt in seven of the last nine games. They also improved to 5-1 on the SEC road over their last six games, giving Anderson 17 road games in league play in his tenure.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores missed a chance to build some momentum at Memorial Gym coming off their big upset at then-No. 19 Florida. It didn’t help that leading scorer Matthew Fisher-Davis fouled out with 3:33 left having scored only seven points.
Arkansas dominated in the paint with a 32-18 scoring edge. They also outrebounded Vandy 34-31 and scored 16 points off the Commodores’ 15 turnovers.
Arkansas: Continues a two-game road swing at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Vanderbilt: Hosts Iowa State on Saturday.