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Arkansas routs Vanderbilt in SEC home opener

Junior Marshawn Powell led the University of Arkansas basketball team with 17 points as the Razorbacks stuffed the Vanderbilt Commodores, 56-33, on Saturday evening at Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Marshawn Powell led the University of Arkansas basketball team with 17 points as the Razorbacks stuffed the Vanderbilt Commodores, 56-33, on Saturday evening at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas (10-5, 1-1 SEC) rebounded from a tough loss in its SEC opener to hold Vanderbilt to the fewest points ever scored by a Razorback SEC opponent since joining the league for the 1991-92 season and the lowest total by a Vanderbilt team in the shot clock era.

“Today we played a good bounce back game,” head coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought they played with a lot of energy and focus. Defensively we were really engaged and to me that is just Arkansas basketball. It was important to not let Vanderbilt get comfortable and I am proud of our guys for coming out and establishing how we wanted the game to be played. They kept their composure and even came out and played a little better the second half.”

The highlight of the evening was Powell who entered the Razorback record books for both his offensive and defensive efforts. Offensively, Powell tied Corliss Williamson’s 1993 record for field-goal percentage in an SEC game after he went 8-of-9 for 17 points. On the defensive end, Powell recorded six steals to put him in a tie for second all-time for most steals in an SEC game.

Sophomore BJ Young also finished in double-digits as he totaled 14 points for his 39th career double-digit scoring game. Although there were several strong individual performances it was a total team effort as 10 Razorbacks recorded a rebound, helping the Hogs outrebound the Commodores 32-29, with Powell finishing with a team-high six boards.

The Razorback defense forced 26 Vanderbilt turnovers, a season-high for the Commodores who entered the game averaging just 12.9 per game. Arkansas capitalized on those 26 turnovers with 23 Razorback points.

“It was a good effort by our guys and our defense was the difference in this game,” Anderson said. “Our constant thing today was our defense. The guys were focused and were guarding and helping others guard.”

The Razorbacks started the game off hot offensively and defensively. Arkansas held the Commodores scoreless for nearly the first two minutes and to just one point through 6:14 on the clock. Powell was able to single-handedly disrupt the first three Commodore possessions with three consecutive steals. During that time he went 3-of-3 from the field for 6 points. Arkansas entered the locker room after the first half with a 10-point lead over Vanderbilt, 21-11. Vanderbilt’s 11 points scored at the half is the lowest since the Razorbacks held Florida A&M to 11 points on Feb. 16, 2011.

In the first half it was Powell that was lighting the floor ablaze as the junior went a perfect 6-of-6 for 12 points, with three steals and three boards. A total of seven Razorbacks recorded a steal in the first half as Arkansas nabbed nine steals as a team.

To start the second half Young went a blistering 5-of-5 for 10 points and knocking down two free throws. Young scored the first 12 points for Arkansas after being held to two points in the first half. The Arkansas defense showed that it wasn’t letting up in the second half as it held Vanderbilt scoreless for an astonishing 6:35 as the offense produced an impressive 14-0 run to put the Hogs up 43-18.

The Razorbacks will host SEC-foe Auburn on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.
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